A federal trademark can be a valuable asset to you and your business. However, just like most other business assets, trademarks require an investment of your time and your money. Completing the application process is just the first step in obtaining a federal trademark, and there are various ongoing maintenance requirements following the registration of your mark. Therefore, it is critical that you understand your obligations to ensure that you do not waste the time, money, and effort invested in obtaining the trademark.
While owners of federal trademarks need to understand that these maintenance requirements include additional filings and fees due over the term of the registration, there are, unfortunately, numerous companies unaffiliated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that prey on uninformed trademark owners by sending solicitations and notices concerning these maintenance requirements, along with offers of other unnecessary services. The notices frequently appear to be an invoice or formal notice, and they typically require “fees” that are higher than the official USPTO required fees or offer services that are not required to maintain your registration.
These notices may look official because they generally contain accurate information taken from public records available on the USPTO’s databases, such as owner names, filing dates, and specifications of the mark in question. They may also incorporate advisory language such as “important notification regarding your federal trademark,” or they may use “U.S.” or “United States” in the company name and letterhead in an effort to aid the presumption of official status.
That being said, unless your trademark correspondence comes from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office,” you are almost assuredly dealing with a private company. Instead of relying on these scam notices, you can verify your trademark maintenance on the USPTO’s website. Any maintenance requirements will be detailed there, and you can find out what maintenance fees and filings are required and when they are due.
Do not be fooled by these unofficial trademark correspondences. If you receive any solicitation or notice concerning your trademark that you believe is unreliable, please contact our firm to help determine what, if any, requirements you actually have. The Strong Firm P.C. understands the importance of screening unnecessary solicitations, and we can help you understand how to properly maintain your federal trademark.
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