I recently went through the process of filing trademark applications for my law firm’s trademarks. Now I am receiving all kinds of scam mail from companies claiming to publish international catalogues of trademarks and offering global trademark protection.
I realized that my clients receive these scam mailings every time a new trademark application is filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
So below is a list of scam mail I received, along with an image and link so you can see what each piece looks like.
WTMR Catalogue 2018 (World Trademark Register) from Washington, D.C.
These people claim there is a due date to pay a “registration fee of $980.” There is a warning buried in the verbiage stating, “THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE, UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.”
TM-Edition International Catalogue of Trademarks – 2018 from Hungary demands $2450 for registration costs, and they only accept payment via a bank transfer. No checks accepted.
GloTrade s.r.o. Global Trademarks Protection from New York.
These people want $2890. This solicitation letter also states in very small writing, “This offer is not an invoice but a solicitation without obligation to pay, unless our offer is accepted.”
Trademark Edition International Catalogue of Trademarks 2018 from Hungary demands $2050. No checks accepted. Payment only via bank transfer.
If you have received any mail from these entities, throw them away immediately. They do not provide any legitimate service that will benefit your trademark registrations.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office sends a warning with their Certificates of Registration that states:
Beware of potentially misleading offers and notices
All official correspondence about your registration will be from the “United States
Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, VA, and, if by email, from the domain “@uspto.gov.” Our email reminders will direct you to make the necessary filings and pay the associated fees online through TEAS, and will not request any fees by mail.
Private companies not associated with the USPTO often use trademark application and registration information from our databases to mail or email trademark-related offers and notices. These offers and notices may include legal services, trademark monitoring services, recording trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and “registering” trademarks in a private registry. Most companies require “fees” to be paid.
These companies may have names similar to the USPTO. Their names may include the terms “United States,” “U.S.,” “Trademark,” “Patent,” “Registration,” “Office,” or “Agency.” Some companies attempt to make their offers and notices look like official government documents by using official government data publicly available from USPTO records.
Scams are a good reason to have your trademarks applications filed and managed by an experienced trademark lawyer who can screen out these types of fraudulent mailings for you.
Often, I receive phone calls and/or emails from clients who have received questionable mailings relating to their trademark applications or registrations. I review the mailing and advise the client on the validity of the mailing. Usually the client claims they thought it was a scam, but they wanted to make sure before the sent in payment.
I wonder how many trademark owners fall for these scams and send in a payment. Don’t get caught in the scam web. Be careful!