If you have recently applied for trademark registration, there is a good chance you will receive some type of trademark spam. Here are some key tips to help you distinguish legitimate USPTO correspondence from trademark spam:
Look at the source:
Official trademark correspondence will always be addressed from either the “United States Patent or Trademark Office” in Alexandria, Virginia, or the email domain “@uspto.gov.” If it is not from one of these sources, it is spam.
Did you use an attorney?
If you used an attorney to apply for registration, all legitimate mail should go him or her. Any correspondence you personally receive is likely spam, and you should always double check with the attorney you used to file the application.
Is it asking you for money?
If a correspondence “requires” you to pay an additional fee, it is probably spam. All required fees are listed in the USPTO’s fee schedule. If the fee is not there, it is spam you don’t have to pay it. If the fee does appear to be there, or you are unsure, look at the source of the correspondence, and ask yourself if you used an attorney to file the application. If the source is not one of the sources listed above, or if you used an attorney to file the application, the correspondence is probably spam.
Is it asking you to use a trademark service?
Another common type of spam “strongly recommends” that you use a particular trademark service to prosecute your application. While some of these services may be legitimate, they are never required, and will likely impose additional fees and costs.
Ask the USPTO or an attorney.
If you are ever unsure as to whether a correspondence is trademark spam or legitimate mail, you can always send an inquiry to the USPTO, and can always ask a qualified trademark attorney.
By applying Tip No. 1 above (looking at the source), we can quickly tell that these seemingly-official correspondences from the “U.S. Trademark Compliance Office” and the “Patent & Trademark Office” are actually trademark spam.
For more information about this topic, contact Frank Knizner.