Will my personal information be available to the public?
Yes, with limited provisions for keeping some personal information private as explained below. 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.
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 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?
Applicants and registrants should 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 or post-registration maintenance submission, certain minimum requirements must be met, including providing the owner’s name, domicile address, and email address to receive correspondence. 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.
With respect to a trademark owner’s domicile address, this can be kept private if (1) you properly use certain electronic forms and (2) you provide both a mailing address and a domicile address, and these addresses are not the same. First, indicate on the initial application form or Change Address or Representation (CAR) form that your mailing and domicile address are not the same, then enter your domicile address in the “Domicile Address” field and your mailing address in the “Mailing Address” field in the “Owner Information” section of the form. The mailing address will be made public; the domicile address will be hidden. Providing the domicile address in any other part of the form will make that address publicly viewable.
With respect to a trademark owner’s email address, although the email address provided with a trademark filing will be publicly viewable, you could create an email address specifically for communication and correspondence with the USPTO for trademark filings related to an application or registration. This will help you avoid receiving unsolicited communications and spam at your personal or business email address.
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 are all private confidential information related to the applicant and should never be included with any submission to the USPTO unless/where specifically requested. If you do inadvertently provide this information in an application, response to office action, or any other electronic or paper filing, please make an informal written request to TMFeedback@uspto.gov for immediate removal from the record.
Note: Any payments properly made with a credit card, charge card, or bank card via the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) are separate from the application itself and kept confidential and secure, and are never made part of the publicly viewable record.
If you 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.
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").
How can I change the owner address?
To change the trademark owner’s address, use the TEAS Change of Address or Representation (CAR) form.
I am not the applicant or registrant. How can I get my personal information removed from the public record?
If personally identifying information, such as your name or address, has been disclosed in the public record for an application or registration that you're not involved with, please email an informal request to TMFeedback@uspto.gov to have it removed from the record. For example, a request by a third party may be allowed when a name not associated with the applicant or registrant appears on a document in the record, such as an invoice or a contact list submitted as a specimen of use.