A new rule requiring trademark owners and seekers to list their own regularly-checked email addresses on publicly-available applications violates privacy, invites phishing scams, and provides no discernible benefits, attorneys say. Under the new rule, individual trademark applicants must give the agency an email address that they check regularly. Companies also must include email addresses that don’t belong to an attorney.
Attorneys also don’t know whether or how the agency will test an email’s validity or, if it does, how quickly an applicant will have to respond.
Emails will still go to the counsel of record first, if there is one, and then to the trademark owner or applicant if there’s no response. That creates a particularly valuable database for email scammers and spammers because the addresses will be regularly checked by people expecting official correspondence, trademark attorney Lindy Herman of Rutan & Tucker said.
“You’re just priming them for spamming. We’re going to be advising clients to set up junk email accounts. True communications from the trademark office will come to us,” Herman said. “It’s going to be a headache for everyone.”