COVID-19 Insights and Information

Articles

Unsolicited Patent and Trademark Services

C. Fred Charpie III and Carrie A. Johnson
5/19/20

mail put into mailbox   The patent and trademark attorneys at Eastman & Smith are proud to represent our clients in front the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Our clients’ matters are arranged so that correspondence from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office comes directly to us such that we can then provide timely advice and counsel to our clients. 

   However, some clients report receiving unsolicited letters or emails that look to be from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but really are not. 

   Unfortunately, there are companies that contact patent and trademark holders asking for fees for “services” such as responding to patent office actions, payment of patent maintenance fees, payment of patent issue fees, completing and filing patent assignments, renewing trademark registration, entering into trademark monitoring services, recording trademarks with government agencies or listing trademarks on a private “registry.”  

   The appearance of the unsolicited letters or emails may seem official, including the names, emblems and wording.  The unsolicited letters or emails often use company names that sound like government agencies or offers that contain government data.  Some company names may include terms such as “United States,” “U.S.,” “Trademark,” “Patent,” “Registration,” “Office” or “Agency.”  Some offers and notices may refer to other government agencies and sections of the U.S. Code. 

   In certain instances, the unsolicited letters or emails may even include U.S. Patent and Trademark Office application serial numbers, filing dates or other publicly available information.  But the solicitations are not from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and some may offer services that are overpriced, unnecessary or downright deceptive.  Patent or trademark holders have paid companies hundreds or even thousands of dollars, mistakenly thinking they were paying fees to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to maintain and protect their patents and trademarks. 

   Our advice to our clients is to review any communication about your patents or trademarks very carefully.  Official mail originating from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, involving Eastman & Smith clients, will come from the Eastman & Smith intellectual property attorneys and not from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  

   Further, we advise if you receive questionable patent-related or trademark-related correspondence, please forward it to the intellectual property attorneys at Eastman & Smith for advice and proper disposition.  Intellectual property owners who are not clients of Eastman & Smith may receive these notices as well and should follow up with their legal counsel or contact Eastman & Smith to discuss the validity of these communications.

___________________ 

Disclaimers:

The article in this publication has been prepared by Eastman & Smith Ltd. for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney/client relationship.