Debevoise’s Megan Bannigan Testifies Before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property

3 December 2019

IP litigation counsel Megan Bannigan testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property to discuss fraudulent trademarks and their impact on American consumers and businesses. In her testimony, Ms. Bannigan gave important context to trademarks and their function in the American economy and discussed the importance of decluttering the United States Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Register. In particular, she discussed two problems that have become particularly noteworthy as of late – fraudulent or otherwise invalid trademarks (known as Deadwood). She also reviewed the current solutions in effect and offered three potential future approaches for the subcommittee to consider for further study:

  1. Require all applicants and registrants to submit specimens of the mark being used with all goods and services listed on an application or registration.
  2. Require all applicants and registrants to be represented by United States counsel.
  3. Implement an expungement procedure.

Read Ms. Bannigan’s full written testimony or watch the live recording of the hearing, “Fraudulent Trademarks: How They Undermine the Trademark System and Harm American Consumers and Businesses”.

Ms. Bannigan served as a witness in the hearing alongside Professor Barton Beebe, New York University School of Law, Mr. Douglas Rettew, Partner at Finnegan, Hendersen, Farabow, Garret & Dunner, Mr. Thomas Williams, Lecturing Fellow, Duke Law School and Mr. Stephen Lee, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Target Corporation.

Ms. Bannigan, a counsel in Debevoise’s litigation and intellectual property & media groups, is active in intellectual property-related professional organizations, including the International Trademark Association, for which she spearheaded the development of INTA’s Pro Bono clearinghouse and, in 2017, was awarded the Volunteer Service Award for Advancement of the Association. She is also Chair of the American Bar Association Intellectual Property Section’s Trademark Litigation Committee and publications chair of the Fashion Law Committee, as well as member of the New York City Bar IP Council.

Debevoise’s intellectual property group handles a wide variety of cases around the world, including trademark, trade dress and advertising disputes; copyright matters in media and entertainment; right of publicity issues; and unfair competition, trade secret and patent cases. Many of its cases have cross-border components, and it has deep experience across a wide range of industries.