Avoiding Fake Invoices

There is a growing list of companies that send official-looking invoices directly to patent or trademark owners seeking payment of fees. Each invoice looks, at first glance, like it came from the Patent or Trademark Office. The invoice may require payment of a certain amount for a listed trademark to issue as a registration. Other invoices require payments of certain patent issue fees or maintenance fees. These companies hope that the invoice will be paid without being questioned by the recipient.

The U.S. Trademark Office routinely publishes allowed trademark applicationsfor potential opposition, prior to issuing the registrations. Similarly, some patent applications are published prior to patents issuing. These publications are available to the public and include the names and addresses of the applicants.

Patent and Trademark Offices do not send invoices for "issue fees" directly to companies (or individuals) already represented by attorneys. Instead, they send any notices or

invoices directly to your attorneys. If patent and trademark applicants receive these types of invoices and are unsure as to whether or not they are legitimate, they can simply forward them to their attorney.

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