Have you recently received a “notice” that looks like an official communication from the Patent and Trademark Office? Look again, because you may be the target of a scam or misleading advertising!
One of our clients recently received the following document in the mail:
While this document is “official looking”, it was NOT, in fact, an official notice from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Among other indicators, pay close attention to the address at the top, which reads “Patent and Trademark Office”. It is not the address of the USPTO (address is Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. NOT Alexandria, Virginia [where the USPTO is located]). Other indicators are a)the false five year renewal requirement (the first renewal filing is not due until 10 years), b)signing up for a renewal at the bottom (as always, READ THE FINE PRINT) which constitutes an effective transfer of power of attorney over YOUR trademark. Reading further, you agree to pay a renewal fee of $925 (as much as 50% more than the USPTO fee) which includes a fake five year renewal term. If you somehow make it all the way to the bottom of the fine print you finally see that “This order is optional and only acts as a reminder.”
This is just one example of the type of misleading solicitations you may receive once you have filed a patent or trademark or patent application. There is a web page on the USPTO site that discusses other types of misleading notices like this – https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/caution-misleading-notices.
When a patent or trademark application is filed, part of the filing paperwork includes a correspondence address. Typically, this is the address for the attorney who has done the filing and all official correspondence from the USPTO is sent to that address. If you receive a notice addressed to you at your home or business address instead of to your attorney, DO NOT respond to the notice. Instead, forward the correspondence to your attorney.
Not sure about a notice?
Drake & Associates is happy to review any unusual correspondence you may receive and to represent you for all of your patent and trademark needs in order to ensure that you do not pay unnecessary and/or fraudulent fees.