By Anita B. Polott & Dana N. Justus | 63 Am. U. L. Rev. 1419 (2014)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had a very quiet year in terms of trademark decisions, issuing only four decisions in 2013.   This number is a notable decline from the Federal Circuit’s output on trademark decisions  in past years, which included thirteen trademark decisions in 2012,  six in 2011,  and twenty-three in 2010.   This year’s decrease in trademark decisions cannot be attributed to a significant decrease in the court’s caseload, as its overall docket for Fiscal Year 2013  was down only slightly from previous years, with 1,259 appeals filed as compared to 1381 in Fiscal Year 2012 and 1349 in Fiscal Year 2011.  

However, the percentage of appeals pertaining to trademark law that were filed with the court this year was generally consistent with previous years, as two percent of this year’s approximately 1,259 appeals pertained to trademark law.   Substantive trademark decisions have not made up more than three percent of the Federal Circuit’s caseload in the past eight years.   Despite its relative quiet on the trademark front this year, the Federal Circuit weighed in on several issues of note to the practice of trademark law in its four 2013 decisions, each of which is discussed in detail below.

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