Monday, October 29, 2018

The PTO Is Watching For Trademark File Hijacking

The U.S. trademark office is vigilant in seeking to reduce fraud in trademark filings--both internal fraud by filers and external fraud by outside parties.

Concerning unauthorized external filings to active trademark applications and registrations, the PTO is watching to prevent unauthorized changes that are tantamount to hijacking. The PTO's watch-dog activity is described in its newly published policy statement

One form of hijacking pertains to a filing by an unauthorized third party seeking to change the ownership, correspondent or attorney for a pending trademark application. And why would a third party seek to do this? Perhaps to serve as a spring board to registration of the trademark with "brand registries" such as Amazon.

For example, as to Amazon's brand registry service--
Brand Registry gives you more control over Amazon product pages that use your brand name, so customers are more likely to see the correct information associated with your brand
In an effort to counter this attempted hijacking of the PTO's active trademarks files, the PTO watches for what it believes to be unauthorized filings and notifies the current correspondent and lawyer of the recent third party filing.

The PTO explains--
Unauthorized changes have been made to a number of active trademark applications and registrations. These changes may be part of a scheme to register the marks of others on third-party “brand registries.” 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.
It's a dirty world out there! Be vigilant about protecting your trademark from attempted hijacking schemes.

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