USPTO Issues Yet Another Show Cause Order Against a Chinese Firm for Fraudulent TM Filings
In a show cause order dated September 7, 2022, the United Stated Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) accused Shenzhen Seller Growth Network Technology Co., Ltd, et al. of “unauthorized practice before the USPTO in trademark matters and providing false, fictitious, or fraudulent information in trademark submissions with the intent to circumvent these rules.” The order requires Respondents to show cause as to why the USPTO should not
immediately sanction Respondents. This order follows another recent order alleging Chinese firms were using a dead attorney to submit trademark application documents.
The USPTO stated, “that the evidence indicates that Respondents are not qualified practitioners under 37 C.F.R. §§ 11.1 and 11.14, yet still engaged in the unauthorized practice of law through the use of names and bar credentials of U.S.-licensed attorneys, intentionally provided for the purpose of concealing Respondents’ involvement and circumventing USPTO rules.” Further, “Respondents’ efforts to mask their participation in the unauthorized practice of law include improperly entering the electronic signatures of at least three U.S.-licensed attorneys and providing false, fictitious, and/or fraudulent attorney information in trademark filings in violation of USPTO Rules.”
Potential sanctions are quite serious including the potential invalidation of over 13,000 trademarks by “strik[ing] or otherwise giv[ing] no weight to all trademark-related documents submitted by Respondents.”
The show cause order is available here.
On September 9, 2022, Shenzhen Seller Growth Network Technology Co., Ltd. released the following statement in Chinese basically stating they are not sanctioned but instead undergoing a routine inquiry from the USPTO:
The USPTO is currently conducting a routine review of the trademark agency industry in China. As the largest international intellectual property SaaS platform in China, our company has been listed in the first batch of inquiries to undergo routine review. It is currently undergoing a normal review, and there is no so-called sanctions by the USPTO, and the relevant rumors are all rumors.
Further, this "routine inquiry" will have no affect on their customers:
This inquiry will not have any impact on the customers we have served and future customers. Trademarks can continue to be used normally.
The response concludes with a warning:
Maliciously spreading rumors and smearing our company has seriously damaged the legitimate rights and interests of our company. Please stop the rumors and slander immediately and delete the untrue information that has been released. Otherwise, our company will take legal measures to pursue it to the end.