You’ve filed your trademark application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) and all of a sudden you start getting emails and physical mail regarding your trademark and you might start to wonder how you are supposed to keep up with all of the filings and fees.
Well, the good news is you don’t have to keep up with all of those mailings. The bad news is, it is mostly spam.
Here’s what you need to know.
Information in Your Application is NOT Confidential
Your application will be publicly available. Anyone can access the USPTO’s database and read your application and mine your application for your information. As a result, many companies in the U.S. and abroad have discovered they can automate the process and collect your contact information as soon as your application is filed. As a result, they know who you are, where you operate, and more importantly, they know information about the trademark you are seeking to register.
Mailings You Might Get
Pretty quickly after submitting an application, you may receive one or more of a number of different types of emails or physical mailings. These mailings will offer a wide range of services from legal services to trademark monitoring services, recording services with other agencies, and recording services with foreign offices. Some of these are valuable services you may want to purchase. But many of them are not valuable and you should not purchase them.
They Are Probably Not Official
Although the mailings may look like official USPTO documents, they are probably not. For instance, many will include names including “United States,” “Registration Office,” “Agency,” or the like and further, many will use formats that look like official USPTO documents. They will probably also have unique information about your application like the mark, the serial number, the application date, and your contact information. But remember, all of that is public so just because that information is on a mailing, it doesn’t make it official.
How To Spot Official Documents
Here’s the good news. Official documents and communications from the USPTO will always come from one of two places. First, if physical, the documents will come from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, Virginia. And second, if by email, the documents will come from an official “@uspto.gov” domain.
If the documents arrive from any other source, you can almost certainly conclude they are not official.
What If You Were Duped?
From time to time people make mistakes and send money to one of these third-parties by mistake. If this happens to you, you should seek a refund from the third party and, more importantly, notify the USPTO and also the Federal Trade Commission. You might also consider contacting a state official in your state regarding the misleading business practice.
The Best Course of Action
Without a doubt, we think the smartest thing you can do is seek help from a competent trademark attorney. He or she can help you with your application (which is a big deal itself) and also with determining what communications you should take seriously after you file your application.
And of course, if you want to file a federal trademark application with the USPTO, we recommend you check out MightyMarks.com where we can help you unleash the power of a federal trademark.
*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.