Sunday, March 31, 2019

Yet Another Misleading & Expensive Trademark Solicitation...

Here is yet another mass mailed/expensive/misleading Trademark Solicitation sent via USPS that offers renewal of your registration at the USPTO for $1,600 for one class of goods/services, sent a year "in advance" of beginning of the renewal period.



In this case, I received this trademark solicitation near the end of March 2019.  This particular mark does not expire until near the end of March 2021.  Nevertheless, this solicitation misleadingly shouts, in effect, that your trademark is about to expire and then next to it sets forth a date in late March 2020 for its renewal.  March 2020 is only the beginning of the one year renewal period. Expiration does not occur until March 2021.

The timing of this solicitation is key. It is a year before the USPTO sends out its notices regarding renewal.

Additionally, the USPTO Trademark Assistance Center has let it be known that they want to be advised when applicants/registrants receive these solicitations.  Therefore, I sent the above-referenced solicitation to the USPTO TM Assistance Center and here is their reply, in part, which sets forth some more important information on this topic, as well as information on maintaining your registration:

ALL OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE IS FROM THE USPTO:

Private companies not associated with the USPTO often use information from the USPTO’s databases to send trademark-related offers and notices.  Although the offers and notices may display information specific to your registration, any company that sends paperwork requesting fees for filing your maintenance documents with the USPTO is not affiliated or associated with the USPTO or any other federal agency.  All official correspondence will be from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, VA, and if by email, specifically from the domain “@uspto.gov.” 

If you receive a trademark-related offer or notice that you believe is deceptive, we encourage you to follow the steps outlined on our website at https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/non-uspto-solicitations to file an on-line consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and if the company that sent you the notice or offer is not listed on the USPTO website, please email us at TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov and let us know.   

YOU MUST FILE MAINTENANCE DOCUMENTS TIMELY

As of January 27, 2015, the USPTO began sending email reminder notices of the due dates for filing maintenance documents, but only if the owner or correspondent authorized email communication.  Even if you do not receive a reminder notice, you must timely file all maintenance documents or your registration will be cancelled and/or expire and it cannot be revived or reinstated.  The requirements and dates for filing maintenance documents are included with your registration certificate.   

YOU CAN FILE DOCUMENTS DIRECTLY WITH THE USPTO:

File your maintenance documents online through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) at https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/filing-online/registration-maintenancerenewalcorrection-forms . 

The only fees you will be charged are those required by law.  The USPTO does not charge additional service fees for using its online filing system. 

NEW MAINTENANCE TAB:

The Trademark Status & Document Retrieval (TSDR) database at https://tsdr.uspto.gov/ has a new tab that allows you to view any upcoming post registration maintenance deadlines for your registration.  To see the tab, enter your application serial number or registration number and click the “Status” or “Documents” button.  Three tabs will appear:  “Status,” “Documents” and “Maintenance.”  Click on the “Maintenance” tab to see the due date for the next required maintenance filing.  If you already submitted a maintenance filing, you will see the status of any pending document.

If you have any further questions or if you require additional information, please contact the Trademark Assistance Center at 571-272-9250 and press "0". 

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Finally, the cost of this alleged service being offered in this solicitation is also expensive at $1,600 for one class of goods/services.  The filing fees for the Sec. 8 & 9 Affidavit to be filed at the time of renewal for one class of goods/services is $425.  Thus, this service/solicitation is keeping over $1,000 as profit.

Yes, it's a free country. No, you don't have to have this much.

Who was it that said, "A sucker is born every minute!"...  (P.T. Barnum)

Don't let it be you.

Be careful out there.....

Respectfully,

William E. Maguire,
Attorney at law
Santa Monica, Calif.
www.tmesq.com

*** This blog post is not intended as legal advice."

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