Beware of deceptive trademark solicitations! Many trademark owners have been receiving direct-mail solicitations related to their trademarks that deceive them into believing that the solicitation is an official document or bill from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Many of these solicitations use official-sounding names, such as “United States Trademark Registration Office” or “GBO Inc., Trademark and Patent Dep.”, and often, these solicitations include a payment form, giving the false impression that the solicitation is actually a bill for a past-due balance on an account. Click Here to view a couple of examples of trademark solicitations that trademark applicants and registrants have received.
Recently, the USPTO issued a warning to all trademark applicants regarding these “Non-USPTO Solicitations that Resemble Official USPTO Communications.” The USPTO warns that these solicitation companies are using the USPTO’s application and registration information to mail or email these trademark-related solicitations and often “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.”
The USPTO further warns that “some of the more unscrupulous companies attempt to make their solicitations mimic the look of official government documents rather than the look of a typical commercial or legal solicitation by emphasizing official government data like the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Class(es), filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records. Many refer to other government agencies and sections of the U.S. Code.”
If you retained Mullin Law PC to process your trademark registrations, then you should not receive any official notices from the USPTO because any official notices will be sent directly to our firm. If you didn’t file your trademarks with our firm, then any official USPTO correspondence that you may receive will come from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, VA, and if by e-mail, specifically from the domain “@uspto.gov.” Be suspicious of any notice that was not sent by the USPTO.
If you ever have any doubts as to whether the direct-mail notice you received is an official notice or just spam, call us and we can help. Also, if you receive a trademark-related solicitation that you believe is deceptive, you may file an on-line consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), at www.FTC.gov.
For further information regarding misleading notices and deceptive solicitations please visit the USPTO.