We have seen increasing traffic in solicitations sent to new applicants for trademark and those who have already obtained registrations purporting to offer services related to the trademark. Most are scams, and the remainder do not offer any necessary or worthwhile service. These solicitations look very official, often are affixed with a formal looking bar code, and contain information unique to the particular trademark. They will also request that you pay a considerable amount for the service provided. Please note that the official name of the government agency that registers trademarks is the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It does not send invoices to applicants or registrants as all services are paid for at the time of filing and generally processed electronically.
An example of a scam solicitation is one purporting to come from the PATENT & TRADEMARK BUREAU. This solicitation will consist of a “reminder” that your trademark must be renewed by a certain date. The date will be incorrect as it will be a year earlier. This scam artist is trying to slide in and charge you exorbitant fees to file the renewal before your trademark attorney would contact you about the true renewal date. This solicitation is a scam.
Others will offer you a ‘database registration service.’ There is no need to register your mark on any additional databases than you already have done by filing your application and registering your mark with the USPTO. These solicitations will appear to offer you an “international” registration. However, an international registration can only be obtained through the USPTO or a similar office from the particular country to which you are applying. More importantly these databases may not even exist therefore any payment you send is doing nothing more than lining someone’s pocket. These solicitations may come from entities claiming to be one of the following:
- WDTP Worldwide Database of Trademarks & Patents
- WPTR World Patent and Trademark Registration
- WTP Trademark Publication
- WT World-wide Trademark
If you receive one of these solicitations, or any email or letter asking for payment of any service related to your trademark application or registration contact your trademark attorney. If you have any questions regarding your intellectual property, contact our Intellectual Property Partner, Maribeth Meluch.