A newly enacted USPTO rule in effect February 15, 2020 makes electronic communication mandatory in all trademark matters.
The Trademark Communication Rule at a Glance
🔷 All communication with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Trademark matters must be electronic.
🔷 All trademark applications and documents must be filed using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
🔷Trademark applicants must provide and maintain an accurate email and domicile address.
🔷 Trademark applicants must provide and maintain an accurate email and postal address for their attorney.
The email and postal addresses will be publicly viewable
Raise your hand if that causes you concern.🙋
🙋I worry about the public availability of email addresses in trademark documents. I worry about unscrupulous actors sending unwanted and confusing emails to trademark owners.
Actually, fraudulent solicitations for unnecessary and false trademark services exist today. In such scams, a person receives an invoice with a false payment deadline. The letter offers unnecessary trademark services. Services offered, for example, include publication, watch, registration, domain name registration, and/or renewal.
Using tidbits of true information and official looking names and letterhead, the fraudulent letters look and feel legit. These letters have convinced even my most savvy clients.
Check out this article for a list of some of the companies that have been known to send fraudulent solicitations.
Before this new rule, scammers used the applicant’s postal mailing address. I predict that the publicly available emails create a deluge of scams.
The Solution: Use an Attorney for Trademark Communication
Good news: the USPTO provides a solution for trademark applicants represented by an attorney. If you use a trademark attorney, the USPTO allows you to use an email address not regularly accessed. In other words, you can set up an email address just for your trademark application. This protects the privacy of the your regularly used email.
Further, the USPTO sends all correspondence to the attorney’s email address not the applicant’s. Thus, anything received otherwise can be presumed fraudulent.
Using a knowledgeable attorney to file and prosecute your trademark registrations assures the best possible legal protection.
With this new rule, using an attorney additionally adds a protective layer between you and trademark victimization.
Need help with your trademark registrations? I can help. Contact me here.
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