Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beware of solicitations related to your trademark that appear to be from an official government agency

There are a lot of unscrupulous companies trying to get money from trademark owners.  Please take a minute to read this message from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Be aware that private companies not associated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) often use trademark application and registration information from the USPTO’s databases to mail or e-mail trademark-related solicitations. Trademark applicants and registrants continue to submit a significant number of inquiries and complaints to the USPTO about such solicitations, which 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.

These companies may use names that resemble the USPTO name, including, for example, the terms "United States" or “U.S.” Increasingly, some of the more unscrupulous companies attempt to make their solicitations mimic the look of official government documents rather than the look of a typical commercial or legal solicitation by emphasizing official government data like the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Class(es), filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records. Many refer to other government agencies and sections of the U.S. Code. Most require “fees” to be paid.

Here's a link to the USPTO page:  http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/solicitation_warnings.jsp

We have had instances where these bogus fees were paid by clients before they checked in with us, so this is a real problem.

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