The USPTO has expanded its practice of testing the veracity of post-registration Declarations of Use under a program intended to improve accuracy and integrity of the trademark register, under a new rule which goes into effect Feb. 17, 2017. The rule formalizes a small-scale trial program in effect since 2012.
Under the new rule, the USPTO may respond to the filing of a Declaration of Use by requiring additional proof of use of the mark in connection with the goods/services identified in the registration. The additional proof may be provided in the form of information, exhibits, affidavits or declarations, and specimens of use. A registrant who cannot produce the additional proof of use for particular goods/services, or an acceptable claim of excusable nonuse, will be advised to cancel those goods/services from the registration as well as any others no longer being offered under the mark.