Trademark owners are required to satisfy certain ongoing requirements, including the submission of maintenance documents and associated fees, in order to retain the benefits afforded by a federal trademark registration.
Many companies unaffiliated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) routinely send solicitations to trademark owners with offers concerning their registrations. Some of those are legitimate, such as services for recording trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, while others are not.
Companies have attempted to trick filers into paying fees for unnecessary services by creating the appearance of an association with the USPTO by using names that include one or more of the terms “United States,” “U.S.,” “Trademark,” “Patent,” “Registration,” “Office” or “Agency.”
Although the USPTO has worked closely with U.S. Attorney’s Offices and other federal, state, and local agencies to ensure that the information necessary to identify and prosecute those companies engaged in fraud is readily available, it is up to the trademark owners to be educated and to avoid falling for such mass-mailing frauds.
The USPTO urges trademark owners to thoroughly review all correspondence information to confirm that they are dealing with the USPTO rather than a third-party service provider. The USPTO has noted that all official physical mail correspondence concerning a U.S. trademark will come from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, Virginia, and all official email correspondence will be from the domain “@uspto.gov.”