Paul C. VanSlyke, Senior Counsel at Hoover Slovacek LLP
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Watch for trademark registration and application scams

Many Texas business owners understand and value their intellectual property and take steps to protect it. This may include trademarks, patents and more. At present, a trademark registration or application may not be as protected as one of those business owners hopes due to a scam discovered recently.

On the afternoon of Oct. 19, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent out an alert regarding an ongoing scheme to take control of trademark registrations and applications. The email notified stakeholders that unauthorized changes are being made by the hackers to active files. The changes are being made through the Trademark Electronic Application System.

Texas business owners who have active trademark applications or registrations need to take any emails received from the USPTO seriously. Many people ignore automated emails received from the agency since they are usually aware of any changes in their registrations or applications, which could make it easy to miss an email regarding this scam and a change to their active files. At this point, everyone should pay attention to these emails in order to make sure that any change made was authorized. If not, steps need to be taken in order to report the issue and have it rectified.

After expending the time, money and effort necessary to obtain a trademark registration, it would be more than simply irritating to fall victim to such a scam. It may also require some assistance in order to make sure that the matter is resolved appropriately, especially if the the email regarding an unauthorized change was not read when it was sent. Any passage of time could result in making fixing the error that much more of a challenge.

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