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Congressional trade mark caucus kicks off with first briefing

The Congressional trade mark caucus kicked off with its first public briefing yesterday in Washington DC

The caucus is co-chaired by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Chris Coons (D-DE) and Representatives Randy Forbes (R-VA) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA).

The first briefing included Mary Boney Denison, commissioner for trade marks at the USPTO, Robert Brauneis, professor at the George Washington University School of Law, Joe Ferretti, chief counsel for global trade marks at PepsiCo-FritoLay (who appeared in his capacity as vice president of INTA), and Grant Ashley, chief security officer of Merck. Jon Kent of INTA and Frank Cullen of the Global IP Center at the US Chamber of Commerce co-moderated the session.

Denison provided an overview of some of the PTO's initiatives such as its China roadshow which provides small businesses with information about IP-related issues in China. The other panellists gave an overview of trade mark law and the importance of trade marks to the American economy.

Representative DelBene and Senator Coons also made brief appearances. DelBene explained that the Caucus's goal at this time is to educate the public about trade marks, how they work and their value to businesses.

"While they may date back to the Roman Empire, we have a bunch of new challenges today, with the bunch of changes we're seeing in the marketplace and technology," she said, pointing to trade mark squatters in China and 3D printing as examples.

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