WARNING: Non-USPTO Trademark Solicitations That May Mislead You

WARNING: Non-USPTO Trademark Solicitations That May Mislead You

Kimberly R. Endelson[1]

If you receive a letter or invoice claiming that you may owe money in connection with your trademark, it may be fraudulent.  Various parties have been sending communications that give the impression they are official notices from the United States Patent and Trademark Office requesting fees and/or money for services.  These letters may state or imply that the matter is urgent and immediate action is required else you could lose your rights.  Since the information included in your trademark application for registration is listed publicly through the USPTO’s website, USPTO.gov, such groups may be using your information in an attempt to mislead you.

Some letters may include offers “(1) for legal services; (2) for trademark monitoring services; (3) to record trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and (4) to ‘register’ trademarks in the company’s own private registry,”[2] among other things.  In an attempt to appear as an official government notice, the letters may use names resembling that of the USPTO and terms such as “United States,” “US,” “Trademark,” “Patent,” “Registration,” “Office” or “Agency.”[3]  The letters may also try to mimic the appearance of an official notice from the USPTO.

Here are some tips for discerning whether you have received an official or unofficial communication from the USPTO:

  1. Read the letter carefully, including the fine print, because the letter may state that the render of the letter has no affiliation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The letter may also describe the services you will receive after payment, which may be unnecessary for the registration and/or maintenance of your mark.
  2. Visit the following link from the USPTO’s website to see if the letter or invoice you received looks like one the list of non-USPTO solicitations: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/non-uspto-solicitations.[4]
  3. “All official correspondence will be from the ‘United States Patent and Trademark Office’ in Alexandria, VA, and if by e-mail, specifically from the domain ‘@uspto.gov.’”[5]

If you have received a letter or invoice and are still questioning whether it is an official notice, contact the United States Patent and Trademark Office directly by calling (800) 786-9199 or by e-mailing usptoinfo@uspto.gov.  For further information, you may call our firm at (212) 681-0800 or e-mail us at info@WyattIP.com.

[1] The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion, but has been prepared for general informational purposes only. Any opinions expressed in this article shall not be construed to represent the legal opinion of this firm, its attorneys or any of its clients. The receipt of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship. ©2016 Wyatt & Associates, LLP

[2] USPTO.gov, Warning: Non-USPTO Solicitations That May Resemble Official USPTO Communications, https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/non-uspto-solicitations (last visited Feb. 22, 2017).

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.