By Jason H. Kasner
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Some of the most common inquiries we receive from our clients concern scams in the form of unsolicited letters or notices received after their federal U.S. trademark applications are filed.

Since the information in federal trademark applications (including the trademark owner’s address) is accessible to the public, scammers collect the contact information of new applicants and use it to send what appear to be official correspondence regarding the trademark application. These solicitations take many forms, and most have the look and feel of official notices from government agencies or are styled to look like invoices.  These notices commonly include (false) instructions to make payments or offers to publish or monitor the trademark application for a fee.  The purpose of these scams is to create a false sense of urgency that the trademark application is at risk (it is not) or that the superfluous services offered will benefit the trademark owner (they will not).

This is yet another reason to work with a good trademark attorney to file federal trademark applications. Not only will an attorney help minimize common filing mistakes, but as the appointed attorney and correspondent, your attorney will also receive all official notices and correspondence from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) regarding your application directly.  You can then rest assured that your attorney is receiving all official notices and anything you receive directly regarding the trademark application is either a scam or a superfluous service you do not need. Here are some more tips for dealing with and recognizing these scams:

  • – All official notices sent by postal mail from the USPTO will have a return address of Alexandria, Virginia. Similarly, all official notices sent by electronic mail from the USPTO will be sent from an e-mail address ending in “uspto.gov”

If there is any doubt about the validity of a notice you receive, you should contact your attorney before taking any action. Your attorney can help you weed out these scams so you can concentrate on what’s important – building your brand and growing your business.

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