The USPTO was invited to speak before a Congressional hearing yesterday that discussed regarding the ability for unauthorized individuals to change information on trademark applications and registrations. The global marketplace can feel the implications of these changes if they are enacted. The USPTO director mentioned that technology changes are on the horizon that will help to combat this issue.
Josh Gerben was quoted by WTR about his feedback to the USPTO director’s testimony:
“The PTO is operating off an antiquated system. There is no security – anyone with an internet connection can go online and upset the system… At the moment, any two-bit hacker can upset the validity of records by submitting something that doesn’t even require a password. It’s amazing that we are in 2018 and this is the level of security in place.”
“I would also encourage the USPTO to implement the proof of identity requirement for MyUSPTO accounts as soon as possible. Ultimately, if the USPTO only requires someone set up an account with a name and email address, this will be an easy workaround for those that wish to do harm to the trademark database.
“While the problem may affect only a small number of applications and registrations, the bad actors targeting the US trademark system have become much more sophisticated year over year. The concern at this point is we are set up for a day when someone attempts a massive disruption of the US trademark system by overloading the system with unauthorised changes to trademark records. Having the system fully accessible to anyone in the world with an internet connection is not a sustainable situation.”
Source: Little, T. “USPTO to fight back against threat to applications and registered marks”. WTR.com. July 19 2019.