Avoiding Trademark and Domain Name Scams
United States Patent & Trademark Office makes existing trademark
registrations and pending trademark applications public record.
These records include:
- The trademark owner’s name;
- Trademark owner’s address;
- Trademark sought for protection; and
- Our firm’s information.
This data is mined for a number of different scams.
However, the scams all seek to instill some level of urgency and often
take forms that appear to be from a governmental agency. Some
suspicious letters are displayed below (click to enlarge):
Worldwide Database of Trademarks and Patents
How about paying $2,237/each to be listed in a database? That's
what this company in the Czech Republic wanted for our own law firm's
International Trademark Registry:
This scam requests payment simply to put your
trademark brand into an arbitrary listing. By analogy it is like
getting on the list of “Who’s Who of Middle School Kickball Players.”
Getting listed on the service is meaningless.
Trademark Renewal Services:
These scammers sent you a carbon-copy, tractor-feed
form that appears governmental in nature. They warn that failure
to renew your trademark will result in its abandonment. Often
times, they are requesting hundreds of dollars to simply remind you a
few months later to renew your trademark. We’ve noticed that these
scammers always sent this form out before it is even possible to pay the
renewal fee. They need to send this out early to preempt
communications from the law firm that handled the trademark application
in the first place. Again, a waste of money.
A form of domain slamming frequently comes from
China in which the brand names of U.S. companies are allegedly applied
for by a third party and the ISP benevolently contacts the U.S. company
to see if they object. Here is a sample:
We are Asia DNR
Limited, which is the domain name registrar centre in Asia.
We have something important need to confirm with your company.
On the Apr 9 2008, we received an application formally. One
company named Fenghua network
services inc applied for the
internet brand Name:
the domain names:
days we are dealing with it, After our initial examination, we found
that the internet brand Name and domain names applied for
registration are as same as your company's name and trademark. hope
to get the affirmation of your company because that may relate to
your intellectual property on internet.
Now we have not finished the registration of Fenghua
network services inc
yet, in order to deal with this issue better, please let
someone who is responsible for trademark or domain name contact me
as soon as possible
We receive this email (or a variant) from clients on a weekly basis.
Whether you use our firm or another for your
trademark matters, do not fall for these forms and
emails. Contact your trademark attorney first
and do not reply to these scammers.