Trademark Monitoring Services

June 14, 2013, 12:26 PM

We have on more than one occasion used this blog to warn about uninvited solicitations for services relating to U.S. federal trademark registrations. The ability of the folks generating these things to do so arises from the fact that once an application for trademark registration is filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), information about the application (as well as any resulting registration) is publicly available at the PTOs website. This information, unfortunately, includes the name and contact information for the applicant or registrant.

The most deceptive aspect of these solicitations and the most offensive has always been that many of them seem to be designed to create the impression that they are official communications from the PTO. In fact, the PTO saw fit long ago to post a warning about this on their website, including a list of some of the more deceptive solicitations. Nonetheless, the solicitations have continued apace.

One of them that seems particularly active lately is being sent under the name Trademark Safeguard to recent applicants for federal trademark registrations. It is a pitch for $375 per year subscriptions to a trademark monitoring service to watch for and advise of potential trademark conflicts. Even though this solicitation has been made to look less like an official PTO communication than it previously did (yes, this company was one of those noted in the PTO warning about these kinds of solicitations), like all of these solicitations it is still something that can safely be ignored.

To the extent a trademark applicant or registrant feels they need to be on the lookout for conflicting uses of their mark, our view is that they will be better served by a self-help approach (by using an email alert service such as Google Alerts), or by engaging one of the larger and more reputable national companies that is also in the business of providing corporate administrative services. --Robert E. Smartschan