The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) is warning business owners and individuals who own federal trademark registrations to be wary of unsolicited mail and emails that look official but are really are the work of scam artists. Here’s how the scam works. The scammers find your contact and official registration information using the public PTO database and then use it to create official-looking correspondence that appears to be from the PTO.
The official-looking correspondence sometimes requests that fees be paid to maintain the validity of a registration, or that fees be paid for trademark monitoring services. Note, however, that the PTO’s trademark communications are always from, “The United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, Virginia, and PTO email is always from the domain, “@uspto.gov”.
Bowie & Jensen’s trademark attorneys can quickly spot a trademark scam and so your safest course is to check with the firm before responding to any PTO or official-looking correspondence, and particularly before paying any fees requested by mail or email. Of course, ignoring correspondence that you believe to be a scam also has its risks because failing to pay maintenance and other legitimate PTO fees puts a registration at risk of being canceled.