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Trademark Alert – Telephone Scam Targeting Applicants for US Federal Registration

Posted by Karrie Gemignani Weaver | Jan 02, 2024 | 4 Comments

Trademark Alert – Telephone Scam

At the close of 2023, we learned of a new scam targeting individuals/companies who have filed a U.S. Application for Federal Trademark Registration.

The scam involves a phone call from a person who claims to be a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) official.  The displayed CallerID information appears to be a legitimate USPTO phone number (one reported phone number is 1.571.272.4000).  The individual on the line may recite some details of your filed trademark application, and then indicate that you must pay a fee to use the “TM” symbol (in some instances, the individual may indicate that the payment will cover a specified time period, after which you will need to pay a second fee).  The individual then asks for credit card and other sensitive financial information.

 

Important reminders: 

·       If an attorney filed your trademark application for you, the USPTO will not call you directly.  Any official communication will be conducted with the law firm of record.

·       There is no fee to use the “TM” symbol.  Ever.

·       There is no fee for the USPTO to publish your trademark.  Ever.

·       USPTO fees are paid through a secure web portal by your attorney of record.  If any fees are due, your attorney would advise you, and the fees would not be paid over the phone.

 

What should you do?

If you receive any communication from a third party regarding your trademark application, do not provide them with your personal information or credit card/bank information.  Rather, contact your trademark attorney right away so that they can verify the authenticity of the communication.  Resolute Legal routinely provides this service to our clients as a client courtesy (no charge).  Unfortunately, unscrupulous actors are everywhere, and we do not believe that our clients should pay to have us protect their trademark rights and privacy against this nefarious activity.

Resolute Legal has an interest in tracking this fraudulent activity, so if you receive a phone call or email from a third party, please provide that information to us.  We are in the process of reporting this to the USPTO, so that we can work to protect private information for all trademark owners.

Please contact us if you have questions or would like to discuss this topic in more detail.

Legal Disclaimer- the information provided herein is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney / client relationship.  Although effort has been made to ensure that the answers are correct, Resolute Legal PLLC and the associated author(s) cannot and do not offer any warranty, whether express or implied, that the answers contained are accurate statements of law.  This document is provided for informational purposes only.  You should not not act upon any information without first seeking advice from a qualified attorney outside the context of this article.

About the Author

Karrie Gemignani Weaver

Karrie Weaver has more than 25 years of intellectual property experience. Her practice involves various aspects of patent, trademark, and trade secret law, including the evaluation, protection, portfolio management, and utilization of intellectual property. Karrie received a Bachelor of...

Comments

JMB Ben-DavidReply

Posted Jan 24, 2024 at 02:25:28

Thank you for sharing this informative blog

Karrie Gemignani Weaver Reply

Posted Jan 24, 2024 at 05:13:20

You are welcome. We have been in contact with attorneys in the Trademarks Special Task Force on Improper Activities, who advised us that “parties are not required to provide phone information [on USPTO trademark forms]. Forms routinely request phone information, which is useful for the aforementioned reasons, but phone numbers are not a required field in any TEAS form, all of which can be submitted without these fields filled in.” We have recommended that the USPTO hide trademark applicant phone numbers from public view, which they are considering. In the meantime, trademark applicants might want to consider whether they wish to include a phone number in their forms. If you do, beware of phone calls asking for financial or personal information. Best wishes in your endeavors. Karrie

Patrick KellyReply

Posted Feb 06, 2024 at 06:28:49

Thank you for this blog. I just received a call from them as well at the 571-242-4000 number that also shows up as the USPTO. If I didn’t already have other trademarks, which lead me to believe this was a scam, I may have fallen for it. Thanks again for the notification.

Karrie Gemignani Weaver Reply

Posted Feb 06, 2024 at 08:51:17

Patrick, thank you for providing this information. The Trademark Office has a site that provides additional information about this scam: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/protect/spoofing-phone-numbers. I am happy to hear that you suspected the scam based on your prior experience with trademarks. Unfortunately, not everyone has that experience to rely on. We hope to help educate as many trademark owners as possible, and pass along information to the USPTO, so that we can counter this fraudulent activity. We appreciate your reply here on this blog. Best wishes in your endeavors, Karrie

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