TTAB Holds that Reckless Disregard Satisfies the Requisite Intent for Fraud on the USPTO in Trademark Matters

In Chutter, Inc. v. Great Management Group, LLC and Chutter, Inc. v. Great Concepts, LLC, 21 USPQ 2d 1001 (TTAB 2021), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board held that Great Concepts, the defendant in a cancellation proceeding at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, acted with specific intent to deceive the USPTO based on a declaration filed in support of its registration, leading to the cancellation of the registration on the ground of fraud. The proceeding was based on a Declaration of Incontestability under Section 15 of the Lanham Act that was filed for Great Concepts’ registration by its attorney. Specifically, the Declaration included a statement that “there is no proceeding involving said rights pending and not disposed of either in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or in the courts”, and the attorney had signed despite having knowledge that there was in fact a concurrent Board proceeding and civil action pending against the mark. The Board found that although the attorney filed the Declaration while unaware of the false representations it contained due to failure to review its details, his actions amounted to a reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity of its contents. The Board reasoned that the attorney’s lack of attention to reviewing and understanding the statements in the Declaration supported its determination and the Board also found that the actions of the attorney were intentional because although the false information in the filed Declaration had been brought to Great Concept’s attention, no remedial action was taken.