Trademark scams target trademark applicants. Typically, applicants will receive a letter in the mail from an official-looking organization such as the World Trademark Board. Don’t be fooled. These are letters from scammers and they could cost you thousands of dollars.

Trademark scams imagery.

Trademark scams target trademark owners. Don’t be a victim. These letters will typically come from private companies not affiliated with the USPTO, and do their best to make their letter look official.

How Trademark Scams Find You

The public can access information that you include in your trademark application. This means that your information is public as is required by the USPTO. This is how trademark scams operate. They get your name, mailing address, registration number and then send scary letters asking for hundreds or thousands of dollars. It is difficult to avoid being contacted because you must give accurate information on the application, so the scammers’ communications will reach you some way, but there are measures you can take to not be a victim.

Trademark scammers target people who filed their own trademark and did not use an attorney. Scammers know that an application filed by an attorney would be a poor target. If you used an attorney to file your trademark application, they receive all official communications and advise you accordingly. If you receive communications from a different third party, use caution.

How To Identify Trademark Scams

First, any communication from the USPTO will come from either its Alexandria, Virginia address, or from the domain. If your communication does not come from either – or from your lawyer – it may indicate a trademark scam. Letters from the USPTO bear the official USPTO insignia. If a lawyer filed your trademark application, they receive all official communications and advise you accordingly.

An important feature to know is that all actions regarding your trademark will be on your mark’s page on the USPTO website. There you will find all the actions that the office has issued on your mark and any oppositions made against your mark. If the letter you receive discusses information not found on the page, then it is a scam and you may disregard it. If you have questions about whether a particular letter is a trademark scam, you should probably seek the advice of a trademark attorneyFor examples of these scams, you can visit the USPTO website.

When You Have Fallen For A Trademark Scam

If you have paid money to these scammers, there may not be much recourse. However, the USPTO does encourage you to report at because it raises awareness to the public and could prevent other trademark owners from also falling victim. They will not provide a refund, but they will use the information you provide to help stop future occurrences. Additionally, you may file a Consumer Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Avoiding these scams is important because you want to use your brand to generate revenue, not give it away. This is where having a trademark attorney comes in handy because the USPTO will only send correspondences to your attorney, not you. Also, your attorney will help you identify potential trademark scams and help you save money.

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