Is it possible to conceal my name when filing for a federal trademark? Specifically, is it possible to register in the name of an LLC instead of a person? Or can an attorney file on your behalf? I'm interested in protecting my privacy, since my understanding is that TM filings are all public record accessible by anyone.
Just to clarify - I'm interested in concealing my identity from the public, not from the USPTO.
The application must be filed in the name of the owner of the mark. The owner of the mark is the
person or entity who controls the nature and quality of the goods/services identified by the mark.
The owner is not necessarily the name of the person filling out the form. The owner may be an
individual, corporation, partnership, LLC, or other type of legal entity. Moreover, you are not required to be a U.S. citizen to apply for and obtain a federal registration. Good luck!
You can use an entity which will help to protect your identity. Who will sign for the entity to protect your identity is a separate issue.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
Employment / Labor Attorney
Yes, it is possible to file for a federal trademark using an LLC. Yes, an attorney can file on your or your LLC's behalf. While your or your LLC's information will be part of the application, the office will only contact your attorney with regards to the application.
The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
Just to clarify, what you tell the USPTO in a trademark application will be available to the public. Correspondence with the USPTO with respect to a trademark application must be in writing (which is now done mostly online using interactive software via web browser) and such correspondence is made a matter of public record within days. To keep your identity secret, use a trademark attorney and have that attorney submit via a company. However, since trademark rights are based on use, the applicant must be the user, so you need to use a trademark attorney or business attorney to set this all up so the fictitious entity using the mark is the same as the one applying to the USPTO. Otherwise, you are probably going to screw this all up and either reveal your secret identity publicly or end up with an invalid registration.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
Gaming Law Attorney
Through some tortured, convoluted methods it's possible to do so (as you note, from the public, not from the USPTO). It will absolutely require an attorney filing for you, and it will very likely require you registering an outside business entity. It will not be perfect -- if you are sued, for instance, it is possible that you can be identified by a determined plaintiff who goes through the appropriate forensics chain by seeking copies of the signatures on various formation documents, or through the correspondence with the USPTO if your name comes up anywhere, or if the attorney is compelled to reveal it. So it's not perfect, but you can make yourself a hard target, rather than a soft one. Be prepared to pay for this privilege. Best of luck.
I focus my practice on (video) gaming industry, casino gambling, and complex internet law issues, electronic free speech, entertainment law, copyright and trademark law, and computer fraud. I primarily represent game developers and founders of emergent internet technologies. The author is a Maryland attorney; however no answer given on Avvo is intended as legal advice or intended to create an attorney-client relationship.