Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated.  They have even educated themselves on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s filing system so that they can authoritatively call trademark customers and falsely claim to be from the USPTO calling about an issue with an application. Scammers often use a tactic called “spoofing,” where they use fake caller ID information to impersonate USPTO personnel to trick you into providing credit card or personal information. It can be really hard to tell the real thing from the fake.

How To Tell If You Are Being Spoofed:

  • If you have an attorney of record, you should not receive any call from the USPTO. You have delegated that responsibility to your attorney so you can get on with your day.
  • The USPTO never asks for your social security number or credit card details over the phone. Do not feel pressured into providing this information.  If in doubt, ask the caller to post an Official Action to the USPTO site and you will review the request there.  You are not required to resolve anything over the phone, even if the caller tells you otherwise.

If You Know You Are Being Spoofed:

 

  • Hang up.
  • Contact the Trademark Assistance Center (TAC) to determine whether the call was from a USPTO employee and for assistance on what to do next. If you have the number that called you, provide it to the TAC. 
  • Alternatively, check the USPTO’s Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system to view any official communications from the U.S. Trademark Office.  Once on the TSDR website, you can view any official communications by entering your application or registration number and selecting the “Documents” tab.  If the potential spoofing call is a real communication, you will see the pertinent document there.  If you need help figuring out the meaning of any document, we recommend contacting a qualified trademark attorney for help. 
  • If you paid any money or gave the caller personal information, see the U.S. Trademark Office’s what to do if you’ve been scammed page for next steps. You can take further action by filing a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and/or the Federal Trade Commission.  

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