TPP Trademark Scam (Trademark and Patent Publications)

Don’t be fooled by the TPP trademark scam. If you have received a notice from TPP (Trademark and Patent Publications) odds are you have recently filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). When you file a U.S. trademark application your information, including the owner’s mailing address, becomes public on a U.S. database. TPP takes this information and mails you a notice that you should send them money. Please don’t. We’ll explain why.

TTP Trademark Scam

TPP Trademark Scam Red Flagged by USPTO

The TPP Trademark Scam is one of many scams trying to confuse U.S. trademark applicants into thinking that they owe the USPTO money to continue processing their application.  When in reality none of these companies are part of the USPTO. Unfortunately, some people get confused and send these scamming companies thousands of dollars.

The USPTO has set up a page dedicated to these scamming companies. The following companies have been red-flagged by the USPTO as potential scams (in alphabetical order):

  • Brand Registration Office (Trademark Selection Edition) (Washington, DC)
  • GBO, Inc., Trademark and Patent Dep. (Miami, FL)
  • GLOPAT Global Patents & Trademarks (Bratislava, Slovak Republic) NEW
  • Intellectual Property Agency Ltd. (London, U.K.)
  • Intellectual Property Services USA Incorporated (Alexandria, VA)
  • IOPR – Intellectual Office Property Register (Beaverton, OR)
  • IPTI – International Patent & Trademark Index (Czech Republic)
  • IPTO International Patent & Trademark Organization (Brno, Czech Republic)
  • P.T.M.A. Patent and Trademark Association (New York, NY) NEW
  • Patent & Trademark Agency (New York, NY)
  • Patent & Trademark Bureau (Philadelphia, PA) NEW
  • Patent & Trademark Office (299 Park Ave., New York, NY) NEW
  • Patent & Trademark Office (555 Madison Ave., New York, NY)
  • Patent & Trademark Resource Center (Seattle & Woodinville, WA) NEW
  • Patent and Trademark Organization (New York, NY) NEW
  • Patent Trademark Register Register of International Patents and Trademarks (Bratislava, Slovak Republic)
  • Registration of International Trademark WDTP (Praha, Czech Republic)
  • RPT Servis – Registration of the International Trademark (Czech Republic)
  • TM Collection (Szombathely, Hungary) TM Edition (2012 version) (Szentendre, Hungary)
  • TM Edition (2015 version) (Szentendre, Hungary)
  • TM-DB Register of Protected Trademarks (Minneapolis, MN)
  • TM-DB Register of Protected Trademarks (Pearland, TX)
  • TM-DB Register of Protected Trademarks (Washington, DC)
  • TM-DB Register of Protected Trademarks (Wilmington, DE)
  • TPP – Trademark & Patent Publications (Poland)
  • Trademark and Patent Office (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Trademark Compliance Center (version 1) (Alexandria, VA)
  • Trademark Compliance Center (version 2) (Alexandria, VA)
  • Trademark Compliance Center (Washington, DC)
  • Trademark Compliance Office (Arlington, VA) NEW
  • Trademark Office Ltd. (New York, NY) NEW
  • Trademark Registration and Monitoring Office (Intellectual Property Rights Recordation Alert) (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Trademark Registration and Monitoring Office (Past Due Notice) (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Trademark Renewal Service (New York, NY)
  • Trademark Renewal Service (Washington, DC)
  • Trademark Safeguard – Trademark Monitoring Service (New York, NY)
  • U.S. Trademark Compliance Office (Wilmington, DE) NEW
  • U.S. Trademark Compliance Service (Phoenix, AZ)
  • United States Trademark Maintenance Service (version 1) (Arizona)
  • United States Trademark Maintenance Service (version 2) (Arizona)
  • United States Trademark Registration Office (Los Angeles, CA)
  • USTM Information Services (Idaho Falls, ID)
  • WIPT World Patents Trademarks (Bratislava, Slovak Republic)
  • WPAT World Patents Trademarks (Bratislava, Slovak Republic) (version 1)
  • WPAT World Patents Trademarks (Bratislava, Slovak Republic) (version 2) NEW

If you receive a bill from the above companies, please do not pay it.

Your U.S. Trademark Information is Public

Whenever you file a U.S. trademark, even when you use an attorney, the information becomes public. The USPTO warns of this publication on their website. Specifically, the USPTO warns:

You may receive unsolicited communications from companies requesting fees for trademark-related services, such as monitoring and document filing. Although solicitations from these companies frequently display customer-specific information, including USPTO serial number or registration number and owner name, companies that offer these services are not affiliated or associated with the USPTO or any other federal agency.

In addition, the USPTO provides information stating that your personal information will become public. The information that becomes public will include the following:

  • Your name;
  • Any addresses on file;
  • The phone numbers you provide;
  • The email addresses that you provide to the USPTO.

Be considerate of this when filing, but most importantly don’t be confused by the documentation you will receive.

Hiring a Trademark Attorney to Hide my Information

Even if you hire a trademark attorney, your personal information still becomes public. The attorney will need to submit your information to the USPTO database as the “owner” information. Even though your attorney will become the official correspondent of record, these companies will still send notifications to the listed owner.

  • Even when hiring an attorney your information will still become public.
  • Using an attorney as correspondent will not prevent these trademark scams from being mailed to you directly.

While the USPTO cannot prevent these trademark scams from happening, if you have an attorney, they can advise you whether the information you received was official USPTO documentation or is in fact a scam. Please see the recommendation from the USPTO to seek the advice of counsel before, during, and after filing a U.S. trademark application.

Trademark Disclaimers – What do they mean?

38959647_l

If you’re reading this, it is likely that you have received an Office Action from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) that states a disclaimer is required. So what exactly is a disclaimer?

Simply put, a disclaimer is a statement made in your application that indicates you do not claim exclusive right to use a specified element(s) of your mark. TMEP §§ 1213 et seq. Specifically, you will be required to add to your application the following statement:

No claim is made to the exclusive right to use “[disclaimed term(s)]” apart from the mark as shown.

What does a disclaimer mean? Disclaimers are required for the portion of your mark that is merely descriptive, generic, or geographic or it contains a company designation or a well-known symbol such as the dollar sign ($). The reasoning is that these types of words and/or symbols are needed by other people and businesses to describe their goods and/or services. As a result, you cannot claim exclusive rights to these terms.

The following are examples of marks that were required to disclaim terms within their mark:

STARBUCKS COFFEE – No claim is made to the exclusive right to use “coffee” apart from the mark as shown.

KIA MOTORS – No claim is made to the exclusive right to use “motors” apart from the mark as shown.

BURGER KING – No claim is made to the exclusive right to use “burger” apart from the mark as shown.

It is important that you address this type of Office Action with the USPTO. Your failure to do so properly can result in refusal to register your mark in its entirety. For more information about your Office Action and whether a disclaimer is required, please call us at (843) 654-0078.