Tuesday, October 30, 2018

U.S. Trademark Filings Require Enhanced Security

The U.S. trademark office recently posted a notice concerning the potential for trademark hijacking of pending trademark applications. It is very easy for an unauthorized third party to pose as a trademark applicant or an authorized correspondent and enter non-approved filings in a pending application. As 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. 

It is interesting to note that the USPTO provides much greater security on the patent side than on the trademark side. When an applicant files a new patent application, the PTO will issue a randomly generated four digit confirmation code to the filer for use with future filings. The lack of the correct four digit code prevents an unauthorized person from making a filing in a pending patent file.

But the PTO does not provide any sort of confirmation code for new trademark filings.

If the PTO uses this type of enhanced security on the patent side, then why won't it use this same type of enhanced security on the trademark side? Why doesn't the PTO give a new trademark filer a similar type of confirmation code for use in subsequent filings to the same pending application? And since the PTO is obviously aware that unauthorized persons are seeking to hijack pending trademark applications, the failure to provide the same type of enhanced security regimen to trademark filers that it gives to patent filers makes little sense.

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