The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is notifying people with active trademark applications and registrations that the trademark system was hacked. Several unauthorized changes were made to active applications within the system.
It only affected a few trademark applicants
It appears to be an effort to register trademark seeker’s marks under other third-party brand registries. The interlopers have filed forms through the Trademark Electronic Application System. The office cautions this only affects a small number of people with outstanding trademark applications or registries.
An email is sent to confirm changes
When a change is made to an application, an email goes out confirming the change. A request to change an email associated with the application is sent to the prior email address. An email is sent immediately after a change is requested, and it may take the patent office up to 3 days to process the request.
If you receive an email from the USPTO notifying you of an unexpected changed, you must react quickly. The USPTO recommends you:
- Confirm whether it was an authorized change. If you do not recognize the email address, an unauthorized third party probably changed it. You may also recognize the email, but did not ask this party to make a change. Try reaching out to the party in question before you contact the trademark office. Keep in mind if you hired an attorney, the USPTO usually sends out an email noting this change occurred.
- If you determine the change is unauthorized, contact the USPTO. The trademark office asks that you forward the original email to [email protected]. Please also include your name, phone number, application serial number or registration number, date and time when you received the message, your relationship to the applicant and any other information you deem insightful.
After the USPTO receives your information, you will be asked to file a form to confirm the change is not wanted. If unauthorized activity occurred on your trademark application, you may also want to alert any third-party brand registry that you or your company have a relationship with.