We have previously reported on the proposed requirement of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) that parties filing trademark applications provide biometric data to a private company, ID.me, and the subsequent backlash against a similar proposal requiring identity verification by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). On Friday, March 25, 2022, the USPTO announced that it would be postponing the initial effective date of April 9, when identity verification was scheduled to become a filing requirement. In its announcement, the USPTO indicated that it would announce a new deadline when appropriate and that reasonable notice would be provided to potential registrants.
It appears that the USPTO, upon its promised reevaluation of its partnership with ID.me, has been persuaded that identity verification should be better balanced with equitable access and the protection of personal privacy. The USPTO may also be considering the practical challenges of facial recognition technology, the disproportionate impact additional requirements may have on smaller businesses, as well as the effectiveness of implementing these measures to better prevent fraud. Lutzker & Lutzker will continue to monitor the situation and counsel our clients on any potential changes to the trademark registration process.