Earlier this afternoon the United States Patent and Trademark Office sent an e-mail notifying stakeholders of an alarming ongoing scheme to hijack trademark files. Apparently, there has been a number of unauthorized changes made to active trademark applications and registrations. It seems that these changes are part of a larger scheme to register the marks of others on third-party brand registries.
The e-mail goes on to say:
Unauthorized parties have filed forms through our Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) to make these changes. Although these instances affect a small percentage of total applications and registrations, we want to make sure our customers are aware of the problem as we work to resolve it.
If a change is made to an application or registration an automated e-mail is immediately sent out by the USPTO. If you receive one of these e-mails do not ignore it. The USPTO is advising those who receive an e-mail alert take the following sensible steps:
- Confirm whether the change was authorized. Of course, it is possible the change was unexpected but still authorized. If you have recently hired an attorney, revoked an attorney, or changed attorneys, a change of correspondence alert will usually result when we are notified of the change.
- If the change still appears to be unauthorized, report it to the USPTO by forwarding the original “alert” email message to TEAS@uspto.gov with the following information:
- Your name and your direct telephone number
- The application serial number(s) and/or registration number(s) affected by the allegedly unauthorized change
- The date and time of the alert message
- A brief explanation of your relationship to the named applicant/registrant of record
- Any other information you believe may be pertinent to your particular situation
The USPTO has also created a webpage titled Unauthorized changes to your file.
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