Has your business taken steps to secure patent or trademark protection? If so, you will receive official looking fraudulent notices asking for money. These are not from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and you should not send them money.
1. Rely On An Attorney For Legitimate Notices
If you have an attorney, they will receive all official USPTO communications. That attorney will then report all invoices, renewals, and other application-related notices to you. You should never have to pay the USPTO directly.
If you do not have an attorney, the challenge of distinguishing between official and fraudulent notices is just one of the many challenges you will face. You may wish to investigate any notice that is unexpected or appears suspicious.
2. How To Spot A Fake
Any official postal correspondence will be from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” with an address in Alexandria, Virginia. Also, emails related to U.S. patents and trademarks will be from the domain @uspto.gov.
The USPTO maintains a list of companies known for sending out fraudulent notices. Two examples are below: one from the “Patent and Trademark Office” and another from the “Patent and Trademark Bureau”.
As with most solicitations, be skeptical of any official looking notice asking for money.