Fraudulent Trademark Solicitations
I often receive telephone calls from clients who have received a document through the U.S. mail that looks like official correspondence from a government agency. This correspondence tells the client that there is a deadline to file a document with the Trademark office or offers to manage their trademarks. These solicitations are scams!
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (U.S.P.T.O.) has been fighting fraudulent trademark solicitations for years. In December 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that two California men pled guilty in a mass mailing scam that targeted owners of U.S. trademark applications. The men admitted to stealing approximately $1.6 million from trademark registrants and applicants of U.S. trademarks through companies called Trademark Compliance Center (TCC) and Trademark Compliance Office (TC).
If you have a pending trademark application or you own trademarks that are registered through the U.S.P.T.O. be careful to read any correspondence you may receive pertaining to the application or registration. Trademark applications and registrations are public records that anyone may review. There are numerous companies that try to trick trademark owners and applicants into paying fraudulent fees for unnecessary services. See INTA Fact Sheet on Unsolicited Offers for Trademark Related Services in the United States – www.inta.org/Trademark Basics/FactSheets.
The services offered are often duplicate services provided by the USPTO or they offer to manage the trademark under false pretenses. Some examples of fraudulent entities that send out these solicitations are:
Patent & Trademark Resource Center
Patent and Trademark Organization
Trademark Office, Ltd.
U.S. Trademark Compliance Office
For a more extensive list go to www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/non-uspto-solicitations
Tips to trademark owners:
- Before paying any trademark related fees, verify that the invoice is from an authorized entity.
- Make sure the document is from the USPTO, no other government entity will contact you regarding your trademarks.
- If you have trademark counsel, forward the document to them for review and advice.
- Read the USPTO warning on non-USPTO Solicitations.
Crystal Broughan, Esq., Marks Gray, P.A.