The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) began a pilot program several days ago that will provide an easy avenue for reporting fake trademark specimens. Under the program, a third party may e-mail the USPTO at TMSpecimenProtest@uspto.gov during a trademark application’s 30-day opposition window with evidence that a fake specimen was filed in the application. The e-mail must include either:
- objective evidence of third party use of the identical image without the mark in question, such as the URL and screenshot from an active website or a digital copy of a photograph from a print advertisement and the publication in which it was featured, or
- the prior registration numbers and/or serial numbers of applications in which identical images of objects, mock ups of websites, etc., all bearing different marks have been submitted to the USPTO.
The USPTO’s entire announcement can be found here.
The pilot program is in response to the USPTO’s determination that there has been a large increase in illegitimate trademark filings—with some inside and outside of the Office claiming that such increase is tied to Chinese applicants in particular.