CAVEAT EMPTOR! – USPTO Issues Warning on Misleading Third Party Communications
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has issued a warning notice advising trademark owners to beware of third party communications that “mimic the look of official government documents” and request payment of fees. That notice was issued after a number of owners reported to the USPTO that they had made payments in response to such requests, believing that they were for official fees and then learned that they were not.
These types of third-party solicitations often use official-sounding names, as well as formats that are more consistent with the style of government correspondence than that of commercial solicitations. For example, the USPTO specifically mentioned an entity using the name “United States Trademark Registration Office” and provided a copy of a notice that it sent to a trademark applicant.
Trademark applicants and registrants who receive solicitations for payments relating to their trademark filings are encouraged to read that correspondence carefully, or to forward it to their trademark attorneys for attention. All legitimate USPTO correspondence will list the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” as the sender and, if sent by e-mail, will be from an address ending “@uspto.gov.”
Complaints regarding third party solicitations may be lodged online with the Federal Trade Commission, and the USPTO asks that trademark owners forward misleading communications to it by e-mail to TMFeedback@uspto.gov.