Beware of False Renewal Schemes
Trademark registrations have to be maintained. There is an initial maintenance filing between the 5th and 6th anniversary of registration to show you are still using the mark, and another maintenance filing at the 10th year. Then every ten years, the trademark owner needs to provide proof of continued use.
The US Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) sends an email (not snail mail) courtesy reminder that maintenance filings and fees are due to the attorney of record (not the trademark owner, unless no attorney is involved). The federal government does not send out written reminders.
There are, however, companies sending out registration maintenance notices that are very convincing and very misleading. They have official-looking seals on the envelopes and the return address is often Washington, DC or Arlington, Virginia (where the actual PTO is located). Some of the information is accurate, but often the dates are before your trademark renewal or maintenance filing is actually due. These companies charge (IMHO) outrageous fees to file your documents. The actual filing fees after the fifth year for Section 8 and 15 affidavits are $425 per trademark per class. Some of these companies are charging thousands of dollars to make these filings for you.
I have been confused by these solicitations. They are very convincing.
Before you mail a check, check with me!
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