The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently put out an alert regarding a new scam in which unauthorized parties use the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) to file changes to accounts in an attempt to register the marks of others on third-party brand registries.
Trademark owners are being warned to watch for emails that may state that a change has been made to their file or account which may have been unauthorized. If you receive such an email, the USPTO suggests the following:
- Confirm the change was not authorized. Review the new primary email address in the message to determine if you recognize it. If the address belongs to somebody else within your organization or belongs to a law firm with which you have a current or past relationship, it is possible the change was unexpected but still authorized.
- If you have recently hired an attorney, revoked an attorney, or changed attorneys, a change of correspondence alert will usually result when we are notified of the change.
- If the change was unexpected, but you recognize the party who requested the change, please consider whether communication with the other party will resolve the issue before reporting it to us.
- If the change still appears to be unauthorized, report it to us by forwarding the original “alert” email message to [email protected] with the following information:
- Your name andyour direct telephone number
- The application serial number(s) and/or registration number(s) affected by the allegedly unauthorized change
- The date and time of the alert message
- A brief explanation of your relationship to the named applicant or registrant of record
- Any other information you believe may be pertinent to your particular situation.
- Once you contact us, we will likely advise you to file one or more of the following:
- Change of Correspondence Address
- Appointment and/or Change of Correspondence Address of Attorney/Domestic Representative
- Request for Withdrawal as Attorney (after Power of Attorney Ends)
- Other TEAS correspondence formas may be appropriate under the circumstances.
You can read the alert here in its entirety.
We are also asking our clients to send us a copy of any correspondence from the USPTO that they receive before taking action. There are instances where changes to your account may be made in good faith; for example, the law firm you are working with may bring a new attorney on board or update their contact information which may trigger a change notification that would be sent to you. We are happy to review these alerts for our clients to help determine if they are legitimate or if the client is being targeted as part of a scam.
With that said, if you receive any communication that seems odd, suspicious, or is alerting you to a change made on your file, please call our law firm at 888-666-0062 to schedule a time to review the correspondence.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
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