On October 19, 2018, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) posted a general warning on its website that unauthorized changes have been made to “a number” of active trademark applications and registrations. The PTO indicated that the unauthorized changes affect “a small percentage of total applications and registrations.”
What can you do?
If you receive an email from the PTO notifying you of a requested change to your trademark application or registration:
- Check to make sure the change really was unauthorized. It could be that your company has hired a new trademark person or your lawyer is reorganizing its docketing email system or your trademark counsel changed law firms. These can be legitimate reasons for a change to your trademark application or registration. It could be that someone made a typographical error in either a trademark application number or name of a mark. If you recognize the party requesting the change and/or the new primary email address in the notice, consider contacting that person to determine whether the change was indeed authorized.
- If the change was unauthorized, then you or your trademark counsel should contact the PTO by email:
a. Forward the unauthorized notification email to TEAS@uspto.gov
b. Include in that forwarded email the following additional information:
i. Your/your trademark counsel’s name and telephone number;
ii. The trademark application serial number(s) and/or registration number(s) affected by the unauthorized change;
iii. The date and time of the unauthorized notification email (which may already be part of the original email);
iv. A statement that you are the actual applicant/registrant/trademark counsel; and
v. Anything else you believe is relevant.
3. Consider contacting any third-party brand registry that does business with you/your trademark counsel.
4. Once the PTO has received your email, the PTO will likely advise you take some additional actions, such as filing a change of correspondence address, appointing or changing the address of your attorney/domestic representative, or requesting withdrawal as attorney.
As an added precaution, the PTO reminded users that a “MyUSPTO” account permits users to add an alert of any status change or change to certain information, such as change of owner, correspondence address, attorney or domestic representative.