Hackers Making Selective Changes to Trademark Filings Underscore the Value of IP Assets

Bad guys are always looking to profit from other people’s properties and intellectual property (such as trademarks) is not the exception.

You may be surprised that, yes, people steal businesses names, logos, copyrighted material, and that bad actors are getting more sophisticated in the way they take advantage of the owners.

They are going high-tech.

Just last week, mid-October 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued an e-mail alerting trademark owners of an ongoing scheme to steal trademarks and the modification of certain application files.

According to the USPTO, the agency that approves intellectual property applications across the USA, has detected a number of selective unauthorized changes to the active trademark applications and registrations.

Analysts believe these modifications are part of a larger scheme to register the trademarks of others on third-party brand registries.

Yes. USPTO has been hacked.

USPTO is sending an e-mail notification to customers if unauthorized third parties have modified files through their Trademark Application System or (TEAS), making changes to the records.

Please note, the agency sends notifications to trademark owners and their trademark attorneys every time there is a request for change on the files.

If a trademark owner and/or his/her attorney has not made a change and receives this notification, you and your attorney should get in action immediately.

These are the steps USPTO is recommending attorneys and owners to take.

1.-Get in touch with USPTO and confirm the change was not authorized by you or your attorney. Check first that the changes were not made due to a legitimate issue such as change of representation through your attorney or change of any other business information. You must be able to recognize the party that is making the change on the filing and if you don’t, this will be a red flag.

2.-If the change is unauthorized, report it to USPTO by forwarding the change communication to the agency along with the following information:

  • Your name and 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 or registrant of record
  • Any other information you believe may be pertinent to your particular situation

3.-Once contacting USPTO, you will receive instructions on how to further proceed to reclaim control of your filing.

There is a great advantage of engaging an expert trademark or intellectual property attorney into your filings, as opposed to a legal services website, which has a handful of lawyers, a small number of customer service representatives and a massive number of clients (many of them in the hundred of thousands filings).

A law firm and/or a trademark lawyer managing your enticing intellectual property and trademarks can take more professional and individual care of your filings with USPTO, alerting you of possible fraud and representing you adequately with USPTO.

Call Attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta to schedule an appointment at (480) 324-6378 for these and other trademarks and intellectual property issues you may encounter and to have the peace of mind that your assets will be managed with professionalism.

 

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