Recognizing Trademark Scams

If you are the listed owner or legal contact of a trademark application or registration, chances are you’ve received unsolicited correspondence about your trademark.  These communications may offer to assist with an upcoming filing deadline, propose to include your mark on a registry, or ask you to wire money to maintain your trademark. Most of these communications are scams.

Companies that send this correspondence often utilize public databases to obtain information related to your trademark applications and registrations.  These databases contain all the information needed to send this type of letter – owner/legal contact name, physical address, (sometimes) email address, and other public documentation that is generated as part of the application process and registration maintenance.  Using this publicly available information, the companies send an email or letter with details about your trademark application, deadline, or fee.

These solicitations often are from companies using names that sound “official” or resemble an official organization name (such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)).  The correspondence may use words such as “United States,” “U.S.,”, “Trademark,” “Registration,” “Office,” or “Agency” or format the correspondence to look more “official” by using serial numbers, registration numbers, U.S. Code section numbers, etc.  Although these communications can appear to be “official,” almost all are private company scams.  The USPTO’s website states: “all official correspondence will be from the ‘United States Patent and Trademark Office’ in Alexandria, Virginia, and if by e-mail, specifically from the domain @uspto.gov.”

It is important to stay up-to-date on the standing of your trademark filing deadlines (even if they are years in the future).  Familiarity with the status of your trademark and careful scrutiny of incoming trademark correspondence can help prevent you from falling victim to these rampant trademark scam solicitations.

This article is made available by Corporate Counsel Group LLP for educational purposes only and to give you general information. It is not legal advice.