Individuals from China are attempting to change the “correspondent” information on United States trademark registrations. By submitting a “change of correspondent” to the USPTO (which can be done through an unsecured web portal), anyone can essentially “hijack” a trademark registration. It is assumed that this is being done in an attempt to game Amazon’s brand registry system. Essentially, once a “hijacker” has established him/herself as the correspondent on a trademark registration, he/she can obtain a code from Amazon to allow for special access to brand protection on Amazon’s platform.
World Trademark Review interviewed Josh Gerben about these recent attempts, and what efforts the USPTO should be implementing to address this issue:
“If we are the attorney of record, and someone tries to change that, we get an email. […] They are getting these things in batches. […] They are attempting to weed them out and look for the ones they feel are suspicious. But it’s a big problem.”
““With Amazon’s brand registry, you can get them to send you a code as the trademark owner so you can get your items in the brand registry. If that code gets into the wrong hands it could potentially used to shut down a legitimate seller on the site.”
“The medium term solution is trying to get a security protocol in place where, if you want to make a change, you have a verification system. But there is no indication that it is coming anytime soon.”
Below is a screenshot of the original article:
Source: Little, T. ““A problem for any company that operates in the US”: rise in trademark hijacking predicted after USPTO targeted”. WorldTrademarkReview.com. October 22 2018.