Tips for Avoiding Trademark Scams and Solicitations

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The USPTO’s database of trademarks is often used as the source of mailing information for unsolicited communications sent to trademark applicants and registrants. Many of these notices are scams, while others are for services which are not needed or required. Some are overpriced versions of real services. Some appear to be services which would be legitimate if provided by a licensed attorney, but many of these services are not performed by licensed attorneys.

Some companies include terms like “United States,” ”Trademark,” “Office,” or “Agency” as part of their names to appear legitimate. For example, in 2021, the operator of two entities who disseminated misleading notifications under the names “Patent and Trademark Office” and “Patent and Trademark Bureau” pled guilty to four counts of federal mail fraud. Some notices also include information from the USPTO database to appear legitimate. However, some notices provide false deadlines to try and get away with their scams before real notices would be sent.

Official notifications come from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, Virginia, and all official emails come from the domain name “@uspto.gov.” Recent changes in trademark practice require trademark lawyers to provide email addresses for clients to the USPTO, but these email addresses are hidden from public view. These email addresses are used by the USPTO to send reminders for trademark maintenance and to provide official notification of important post-registration events. For example, the USPTO could send notice of the filing of a cancellation action by email.

As a result of these scams and solicitations which continue to proliferate, we recommend that clients do not pay anything for their trademarks which we do not ask them to pay. We advise clients to check with us if they are ever unsure, as some solicitations are quite misleading and can appear legitimate at first glance. We do not charge for our time in helping clients avoid such scams or solicitations. To learn more, please contact Kevin Thompson at kthompson@lgattorneys.com, or visit https://calendly.com/kthompson-lg to schedule an appointment.

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