By Jim Lake
Trademark owners, beware! Shady businesses are mining U.S. Patent & Trademark Office records for your contact information and sending misleading solicitations. Carefully review and consider any correspondence concerning your registrations before responding.
For example, the self-styled “Patent & Trademark Bureau” (not a real government agency) has been advertising overpriced renewal services for years. Recent mailings come with more than a high price – some have false dates.
As the Pennsylvania Department of State has reported, the return address on “Patent & Trademark Bureau” solicitations is of a postal store in Pennsylvania, and no company called “Patent & Trademark Bureau” is registered in Pennsylvania. An example mailing that the Pennsylvania Department of State cited contains incorrect information. The mailing listed a “renewal date” of September 28, 2022, for the registration mentioned in the solicitation. In fact, the one-year period to renew that registration opened a year later. The mailing also listed exorbitant fees for renewal services – $1,950 for one trademark class and $850 for each additional class. The real U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (the “PTO”) charges only $225 per class to renew a trademark registration electronically. Even with an attorney’s assistance, renewal is unlikely to cost as much as the Patent & Trademark Bureau charges. And of course a trademark attorney will be able to advise you concerning the benefits and requirements of renewal.
The bottom line is that trademark owners should be wary of any mailings they receive concerning their registrations. If your marks are registered by an attorney, the PTO will likely contact that attorney directly concerning required maintenance filings. If your registration is not handled by a trademark lawyer and you have any questions about trademark correspondence, contact experienced trademark counsel.
Jim Lake is an attorney in Thomas & LoCicero’s Tampa office. His practice areas include trademark registration and litigation.