Avoiding Trademark and Domain Name Scams

How to disregard trademark scamsThe United States Patent & Trademark Office makes existing trademark registrations and pending trademark applications public record.  These records include:

  1. The trademark owner’s name;
  2. Trademark owner’s address;
  3. Trademark sought for protection; and
  4. Our firm’s information.

This data is mined for a number of different scams including domain slamming.  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):

Trademark Scam Letter Trademark Scam Trademark Scam Trademark Scam

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 trademarks:

Trademark Solicition Scam Letter Trademark Solicitation Scam Letter

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.

Domain Slamming

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: 

 

YOURTRADEMARK

the domain names:

yourtrademark.info

yourtrademark.mobi

yourtrademark.asia

yourtrademark.net.cn

yourtrademark.org.cn

yourtrademark.hk

yourtrademark.tw 


These 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

Best Regards

Frank.lee

 

We receive this email (or a variant) from clients on a weekly basis.

Summary

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. 


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