The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced last week that it has discovered that unauthorized users have attempted to hack into its online trademark system to attempt to make unauthorized changes to active trademark applications and registrations. They have also tried to register marks owned by others on third-party brand registries.

According to USPTO, unauthorized parties have filed forms through its online system to make changes to applications. After a requested change, the USPTO will send an automated email alert to the owner of the application that a change has been made, which is usually sent to the primary email address on file with USPTO. It appears that the hackers are also changing the primary email address in the applications and registrations so the notices come to the hacker’s email address instead of the owner’s.

USPTO is advising owners of applications and registrations that if they receive the automated email of a change from USPTO, they should review it closely to see if they recognize the new email address, or if another change was actually made, as well as contact any third-party registry that they use. If the change is unauthorized, then users should notify the USPTO.