Scammers are Now Impersonating the USPTO: What You Need to Know
Stites & Harbison Client Alert, March 6, 2023
Recently the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Notice pertaining to a recent development in fraudulent communications pertaining to U.S. Trademark registrations and registration applications. Scammers are and have been accessing publicly available Trademark information and directly contacting applicants/registrants.
While previously such communications were typically limited to written/email communication, more concerningly this practice has expanded to direct communications by persons posing as Trademark Office employees. In some instances the contact is by telephone using “spoofing” to appear legitimate by generating a fake caller ID. Scammers have requested information such as credit card information for fee payment purposes or for payment to add an applicant’s trademark information to a non-existent “international registry,” and also personal information such as Social Security numbers to allegedly allow processing an application.
The USPTO will never call an applicant or registrant directly for this type of information. Fee payment is generally required to be made through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) or in rare circumstances such as system outages by fax or mail. The USPTO does not accept payment by phone, and has no reason or authority to request a Social Security number as part of a registration application process.
If you receive a request for this type of information by phone, text, email, letter, or other communication requesting money or personal information from individuals representing themselves as U.S. Patent and Trademark employees, do not provide it. Contact your Trademark attorney and/or the USPTO directly using the resources provided.