Beware the Trademark Scammers!

Beware the Trademark Scammers!

This problem is getting worse of late, so please take note if you’ve filed a trademark application with the USPTO recently (whether using an attorney or not)!

You are at risk of being scammed once you file a trademark application with the USPTO. How, you ask? The contact info you are required to submit along with your trademark application is publicly available (via the USPTO database) and there are imposters who will use shady means to try and steal your money with that info. They feed on your fear and innocence surrounding the trademark registration process. While this  problem has been going on for years, it is worsening. Even we received a few of these scam mailings, which are highlighted below, when we applied for our firm’s trademark!

THE SCAM

Scammers – often parroting USPTO or government letterhead – send official looking “invoices” claiming you own money for “services” that, in reality, do little or nothing to further protect your brand. Some of these scam mailings and emails will have a disclaimer that the “invoice” is merely an advertisement, but others will not.

The USPTO is well aware of these scammers and an official warning with a long (though incomplete) list of know offenders is published on the USPTO website.

Here is an examples of a scam mailing that we received:

A REMINDER

If you hired an attorney to file an application on your behalf and to serve as your “attorney of record”, only that person will receive official government notices from the USPTO related to your trademark. Said another way: If it didn’t come from your attorney of record, throw it away (or send it to your lawyer). If we’re your “attorney of record”, the USPTO will ONLY communicate with us, and we then pass that info onto you. It pains us when client’s fall victim to trademark scammers. Please stay diligent and let us know if you have any questions!

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Andrew Kraus
andrew@opticliff.com
2 Comments
  • ROBIN J. ROSS
    Posted at 06:36h, 15 December

    Hi Andrew,
    I was interested in your website and started reading the Blog posts.
    A Question: how it is that anyone, including scammers, not directly involved in the process of applying for a trademark finds out about it in the first place?
    Thanks.
    Robin R.

  • Andrew Kraus
    Posted at 11:42h, 15 December

    Hi Robin – Great question! Every document submitted to the Patent and Trademark Office is public record and searchable. Companies or individuals can peruse that data (which includes the physical address of all applicants) and send unsolicited mailings/offers to them. Its no doubt a problem, especially as many of those “offers” are truely spam. The USPTO is well aware of what is going on and takes steps to warn all applicants, but little can be done to stop it due to the inherently public and open nature of these proceedings.

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