Sunshine, Inc. was happy…

Sunshine, Inc. (not their real name) recently hired our law firm to file several trademark applications. The trademarks registered, securing Sunshine Inc.’s rights, and the world was a happy place

…until this happened.

A few months later, Sunshine received this in the mail:

It looks like an official bill for “publishing” the trademark application, which is an actual part of the trademark registration process. However, no fees are associated with this part of the process. Especially not $1420!

This was one of the many scams targeted at trademark owners!

We have recently seen an increase in this type of activity. Many of these solicitations mimic official U.S. trademark office communications and go to extensive lengths to appear to be offering legitimate legal or other professional services. For an excessive fee.

Common promises and guarantees include:

  • False deadlines that don’t exist
  • Registration in meaningless registers
  • Illegitimate legal services and legitimate services that are not required

How can you protect yourself?

Resources to protect yourself:

  • The Law Offices of Gretchen McCord, PLLC
    • Appoint our firm as the official correspondent for all communications with the trademark office (if our firm filed your application, this has already been done).
    • Send any suspicious invoices or solicitations to us for confirmation.
  • Check the trademark office’s database of misleading offers and notices here.
  • The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also maintains a database of known scammers as well as a process for making complaints here.
  • If you receive one of these fake or misleading offers, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).