Scam Alert: Solicitations For Trademark Services
By: Jay M. Behmke, Partner
What To Watch Out For
If you or your company owns a trademark application or registration, you may receive solicitations from private companies not associated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These companies use information from the USPTO's databases to mail or e-mail trademark-related solicitations. They may use names that resemble the USPTO name, including, for example, the terms "United States" or "U.S." These names change over time as scams are detected and reported on, but they tend to follow a pattern:
United States Trademark Protection Agency
United States Trademark Agency
Trademark Monitoring Service
Patent & Trademark Office Register of Patents
United States Trademark Maintenance Service
United States Trademark Center
United States Trademark Registration Service
Increasingly, some of the more unscrupulous companies attempt to make their solicitations mimic the look of official government documents by emphasizing official government data such as the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Classes, filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records.
These solicitations may include offers: (1) for legal services; (2) for trademark monitoring services; (3) to record trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and (4) to "register" trademarks in the company's own private registry. Many refer to other government agencies and sections of the U.S. Code. Most require "fees" to be paid, and usually these fees are grossly inflated.
The Real Deal
If we are your attorney of record, any legitimate trademark notices will come from us, on our letterhead. If not, please be sure to read trademark-related communications carefully before making a decision about whether to respond. All official correspondence will be from the "United States Patent and Trademark Office" in Alexandria, VA, and if by e-mail, specifically from the domain "@uspto.gov."
If you ever have questions about any trademark solicitations you receive by post or email, please feel free to let us know. At the very least, never send anyone money for trademark services until you have checked with us.
For more information contact Marta Randall at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (707) 526-4200.
100 B Street, Suite 400
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
This email contains information of a general nature. It is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for any analysis of specific circumstances. Please consult with us or other legal counsel if you wish to assess the particular relevance of this information to you.