Warning Update – Trademark Office Impostors

Jeanne L. Seewald, John J. Cunniff

Last September, in our legal alert, “Beware! Trademark Solicitations” we warned clients of the ongoing disreputable efforts of companies who attempt to profit by confusing trademark owners into paying unnecessary “renewal fees” with correspondence that initially appears to be a renewal notice or invoice.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued an alert notifying customers of a related development that scammers have recently begun using. These efforts involve individuals “spoofing” their phones so that when caller ID is used, it falsely indicates that the caller is from the USPTO. The scammers will call a trademark owner, falsely claiming to be a USPTO employee, to obtain credit card or personal information. The USPTO cautions that its employees will never ask for personal information or payment information over the telephone.

If you receive a suspicious telephone call, the USPTO asks that you contact the Trademark Assistance Center (TAC) to verify the call was from a USPTO employee and for assistance on what to do next. If you have the telephone number that called you, please provide that to the TAC representative who answers your call. It would also be advisable to contact your trademark attorney to review the information in the USPTO database regarding recent communications issued by the USPTO for your trademark registration. Alternatively, you can access the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system to see official communications that have been issued by entering your application or registration number and selecting the “Documents” tab.

As always, if you have any questions on these or related trademark issues, please refer them to us for review.

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