Misleading and Unsolicited Trademark Service and Fee Requests

Filing a trademark application in the United States or a foreign country typically results in trademark owners receiving unsolicited notices, invoices, and other communications from U.S. and foreign companies requesting fees for trademark-related services, such as trademark monitoring and document filing.  Although these documents and invoices often look “official” and contain customer-specific information (such as the trademark serial or registration number and owner name), companies that offer these services are not affiliated or associated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) or any other federal agency.car-44144_1280

If you receive an invoice related to your trademarks, you should verify its authenticity with your trademark attorney, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the Intellectual Property Office through which your mark is registered before remitting payment and to discuss your options in more detail.

Unless the communication comes directly from (1) the USPTO, (2) a foreign trademark agency equivalent, or (3) your trademark attorney, these notices and invoices are likely unsolicited third party advertisements for services that you may not need or that may not provide you with adequate protection for your trademarks.  The USPTO and the WIPO have issued warnings related to these unsolicited requests for payment of fees.  WIPO has databases containing samples of misleading invoices and similar announcements issued by various countries.

You may file a complaint about these types of solicitations with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

 

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