Will my personal information be available to the public?
Yes. Please be aware that when you apply for a trademark registration you are making a public record. Accordingly, all of the information and documents you provide to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) during the prosecution of an application and maintenance of a registration are available to the public and will be viewable on the USPTO website even if the application abandons or the registration cancels or expires. Third-party websites and Internet search engines access and use this information, including your name as well as any addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses that you provide to the USPTO.
Why does the USPTO make this information public?
The USPTO is required by law to maintain records of trademark applications and registrations, and to make them available for public inspection. See 37 C.F.R. §2.27. You may find additional information and guidance related to the USPTO duty to provide access to public records in the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) §109 (https://tmep.uspto.gov/RDMS/TMEP/current#/current/TMEP-1d1e234.html).
How can I see my trademark records?
As noted above, the USPTO is required by law to maintain records of trademark applications and registrations and to make them available for public inspection. Once submitted, an application becomes part of the public record and continues to be part of the public record whether the application is abandoned or the registration is surrendered, cancelled, or expired.
You can view and download documents contained in the USPTO’s electronic records using the USPTO’s Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system. To retrieve the records relating to your trademark, enter your application serial number or registration number and click the “Documents” button.
Will my trademark records help provide contact information for someone interested in researching my trademark?
Yes. The public may use records of trademark applications and registrations to identify the owner of a trademark and/or their attorneys/representatives. This information is valuable to the public and is often used to perform a clearance search when another party is considering whether to use a mark.
How can I prevent my personal information from being placed on the USPTO website?
It is the responsibility of applicants and registrants to carefully consider the information provided to the USPTO to ensure that any information they wish to keep out of the public record is not included with their initial filing or in any subsequent filing submitted during the entire application and post-registration process. However, to file an application, certain minimum requirements must be met, including providing the owner’s name and an address to receive correspondence. Any type of existing legal entity, including an individual, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, association, or joint venture, may own a trademark. Also, an applicant may provide a P.O. Box number as the correspondence and/or owner address in lieu of a home or business addresses, if accurate. An applicant need not provide a telephone number as part of the application process, although providing a telephone number aids the USPTO in its ability to contact applicants.
Why is my trademark application and registration information now appearing on Internet search engines?
Trademark applications and registrations are public records. Individuals and private companies may use this public information to create third-party access to these records. Please note that the USPTO is not responsible for how these entities present this publicly available information. This information includes correspondence addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers provided in the initial application, as well as any changes or updates made to this information throughout the prosecution of the application or maintenance of the registration.
What personal information may be removed from the record?
Driver’s licenses, social security numbers, credit card information, and banking information, can be removed upon an informal written request to TMFeedback@uspto.gov, because this highly sensitive personal information is not a filing requirement and therefore should be removed from the record immediately. Please note that any payments properly made with a credit card, charge card or bank card via the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) are confidential as well as secure, and are never made part of any publicly viewable USPTO record.
If you erroneously submitted a document containing personal information or confidential documents other than a driver’s license, social security number, credit card account number, or banking account number that you do not wish to be part of the public record, you may petition the Director of the USPTO to remove it from public view for a fee of $100.00 if filed through TEAS and $200.00 if filed on paper. Trademark Rule 2.25 provides that “documents filed in the Office by the applicant or registrant become part of the official record and will not be returned or removed.” The Director will waive this rule only if the petitioner can provide evidence that an extraordinary circumstance exists that warrants the removal of this information. As noted above, driver’s licenses, social security numbers, credit card information, and banking information may be removed upon an informal written request to TMFeedback@uspto.gov. Payments properly made with a credit card, charge card or bank card via the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) are confidential as well as secure, and are never made part of any publicly viewable USPTO record.
The USPTO records must always include the trademark owner’s name and correspondence address and this information may be updated, but not removed. It also may be possible to provide redacted documents to replace portions of existing submissions that may be deemed personal or confidential if that information was not relied on during examination of the documents. Please note that after the USPTO renders a decision on the petition, the fee will not be refunded.
Last, as noted above, all documents submitted in connection with an application or registration become part of the record for that file. Therefore, if your petition is granted, the petition and redacted document will remain in the USPTO records, although the personal or confidential information will be hidden from public view.
You can file your petition through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). You should click on the overall “Petitions Forms” category from the TEAS front page and then select form number 3 (“Petition to the Director under Rule 2.146”).
How can I change my correspondence address or owner address?
You can file your change of address through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). To change a correspondence address, use form “1. Change of Correspondence Address Form.” To change the owner’s address, use form “2. Change of Owner’s Address Form.” Please be advised that changing the owner’s address will not effect changes to the correspondence address unless the owner’s address and correspondence address are identical. In many cases, third-party websites and Internet search engines use the data from the current correspondence address and owner address information.