Trademark Records: Public or Private?

If you apply for a trademark record, your information will be publicly available.

During the process of applying for a trademark with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), all of your records and information will be accessible to the public via the USPTO website as well as several third party websites. This is true even if the patent is abandoned, cancelled, or expired. The information available to the public includes but is not limited to your name, phone number, and address. Not happy about this? Speak to one of our top trademark lawyers to learn what you can do about it.

The USPTO makes this information public because it is required to do so by law.

 

The USPTO Values Transparency

37 CFR §2.27 states that all records regarding the application for a patent must be available for public inspection. Because the USPTO has to make all records public, it is easy to access your own trademark records. These records can be located with the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system. You can find the TSDR system here.

There are ways to limit how much of your personal information is made public.

 

Our Top Trademark Lawyers Know Our Stuff

Any information included in a trademark application will become a part of the public record. However, there are certain considerations that can be made before filing for an application In order to minimize the public exposure of your personal information.

In order to file a trademark application, certain pieces of information are required (such as a name and address). However, any type of existing legal entity can file a trademark. This includes a corporation, an association, a joint venture, a partnership, or a limited liability company. If you’d like to avoid making your name part of the public record, consider forming a different legal entity and filing under that name instead. In addition, you can avoid making your address part of the public record by filing with a P.O. Box.

 

Certain pieces of information are not required to file an application, and therefore should not be submitted to the USPTO at any point in the application process.

This includes social security numbers, credit card/banking information, or a drivers license. Any credit card/bank card used to make a fee payment through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) is separate from the application itself and will not be kept in the public record. If a driver’s license, social security number, or credit card/banking information does wind up in the public record, you may be able to have it removed. Contact one of our Top Trademark Lawyers to find out how.

 

If you feel your public information has been made available inappropriately, there are a few options.

Say you accidentally submitted a document with personal information on it, and didn’t realize it would become part of the public record. You can attempt to get it removed by petitioning the Director of the USPTO to make an exception to the public record rule. The Director will only make an exception if you provide evidence of what is deemed an extraordinary circumstance. This is ruled on a case by case basis, but if the Director decides that there is actually proof of an extraordinary circumstance, the information will be removed from the public record.

If your information winds up in the public record because of an application you were not involved with (for instance, through an invoice or contact list), you can also petition to get it removed.  Contact one of our New York Trademark Lawyers to find out how.

Records Remain Permanent in the USPTO

 

Even if information is removed from the public record, it remains a part of the USPTO records.

All information submitted by an applicant becomes a permanent part of their file. Even if you successfully petition the USPTO to remove a piece of information from the public record, the petition and redacted information will remain in the USPTO internal records (though they will be inaccessible to the public.)

 

How long does it take?

The total time for an application to be processed may be anywhere from almost a year to several years, depending on the basis for filing, and the legal issues which can take place during the examination of the application.

Contact Us

An attorney will respond within 24 hours via e-mail or phone.

I'd like to chat about...