If you or your business has a trademark, trademark scammers may reach out to you. The notices may appear to be from the United State Patent and Trademark Office.
I just received this one from a trademark client, who prudently decided to ask his attorney about the notice first before sending in a payment:
It’s important to know that the real United State Patent and Trademark Office does not have a United States Trademark Maintenance Service.
While this notice looks official, it’s not.
Lots of my clients have recently received these deceptive notices. This is, unfortunately, a very real problem for trademark owners. As the trademark database is public, the name and address of the trademark owner is easily found by the scammers.
This notice, and others like it, is designed to look like a typical government form. This is done to fool the recipient into completing it and sending in money or credit card information. The money you will give will provide little or no benefit to you. In many cases, you will send the money and receive nothing of value in return.
While the fine print at the bottom of the notice says it is not approved or endorsed by the Federal Government, most people don’t make it to that last tiny line and are deceived by the overall appearance.
If you have any attorney handling your trademark application, the USPTO will be communicating with your attorney — not with you. You can safely assume that the majority, if not all, correspondence you get, especially those requesting an urgent payment, are fake. If in doubt, ask your attorney first before you pay.
The real US Patent and Trademark Office provides a handy guide to these scams: USPTO – Caution: misleading notices.
When it comes to trademark notices that you get in the mail or by email, check first with your attorney before you cut the check.