In a last minute effort to avoid a government shutdown, on December 21, 2020 Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the “Act”). Surprisingly, and without much notice, input, or deliberation, Congress included provisions in the Act that could significantly change American trademark and copyright laws.

Trademark and copyright owners should review and understand these changes, which provide both significant benefits—that require rethinking enforcement strategies—but also hazards to plan for and address.

Within the Act, Congress expands trademark cancelation procedures, creates a rebuttable presumption of irreparable harm when requesting an injunction for trademark infringement matters, criminalizes companies facilitating digital downloading, and establishes a new administrative copyright infringement tribunal—all of which benefit trademark and copyright owners. However, these changes may also expose companies to more costs and nuisance suits.

President Trump signed these changes into law on December 27, 2020. For an overview of the law’s implications for trademark and copyright owners, please see our Legal Update. We will continue to track and report on developments in this Blog.