Trademark “Junk Mail” Can Deceive Applicants
Federal trademark applicants should exercise care to protect themselves from purchasing unnecessary or useless trademark-related services. The addresses of all U.S. trademark applicants are a matter of public record. Shortly after applying for federal trademark registration most applicants receive unsolicited junk mail, which usually offers “trademark protection” services, domain name registration services, or international trademark registration. Some of these solicitations offer legitimate services that could be useful to trademark owners. However, other solicitations are deceptive and are designed to look like they are from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These solicitations may include logos and terminology that resemble those of the USPTO or other governmental agencies. In one of the worst examples we have encountered, a piece of junk mail contained the heading “Patent Trademark Register” and claimed to be the “Register of International Patents and Trademarks.” The junk mail appeared to be an invoice and requested the recipient to pay thousands of dollars in fees within 8 days. Fortunately, our client sent this piece of junk mail to us and did not pay the amount requested.
Applicants who use an attorney to file their trademark applications usually do not receive official correspondence from the USPTO. As the designated contact person, the attorney will receive all official correspondence from the USPTO. This means that if the applicant receives anything that appears to be related to the trademark application, it is likely junk mail that can be discarded. An applicant who is in doubt about a piece of correspondence that purports to offer trademark-related services should contact an attorney to resolve this doubt.
The foregoing article was provided for general information. Seek specific legal advice for your situation. The attorneys of David L. Bea & Associates are experienced in trademark matters. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
© 2011 David L. Bea & Associates