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USPTO Warns of Communications from Third Party Scammers That Appear Official

As a follow up to our client alert of August 1, 2012 entitled Scams: The Downside of Federal Trademark Registration (you can find a copy on our website), the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") recently posted a notice on its website warning the public entitled WARNING: Non-USPTO Solicitations That May Resemble Official USPTO Communications. The notice can be found at this website.

The USPTO warns, as we did earlier this year, that there are many private companies not associated with the USPTO mailing solicitations for, among other things, legal services, trademark monitoring and renewal services, or registration of trademarks in private registries. Many of these companies require fees to be paid that are often times higher than what you would pay your attorney for the same services.

Many of these companies use official-sounding names resembling the USPTO or other government agencies. The USPTO has posted a list of thirteen such companies along with sample of solicitations of which the USPTO has recently received complaints. Amongst the third party companies that are listed include: United States Trademark Registration Office, Patent & Trademark Agency, United States Trademark Maintenance Service, U.S. Trademark Compliance Service, Patent Trademark Register, Register of International Patents and Trademarks, and Trademark Renewal Service.

The USPTO warns: "…be sure to read trademark-related communications carefully before making a decision about whether to respond. 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.'"

As always, the USPTO will direct all official communications regarding your registered mark to the attorney or contact person of record. If you receive any communication that appears to be an official government document or seemingly from the USPTO, you should contact your intellectual property attorney to ensure that this document is in fact an official communication and what steps are needed for a response, if any.

For additional information, please contact Jonathan D'Silva at jdsilva@mijb.com.