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New Trademark Scams

I was recently alerted to new scams that are plaguing U.S. trademark applicants.

I wrote about trademark scams way back in 2012 (here) and 2016 (here). Unfortunately the problem hasn’t gone away. Here are two recent issues I’ve heard of:

1. Email Scam. After a trademark application is filed, the applicant (meaning, the person or company who owns the trademark, not the filing attorney) is contacted in writing stating that the trademark application was incomplete, and that a conflicting application has been filed by someone else.

The scam email looks something like this:

I hope this email finds you well. We are writing to address a time-sensitive matter related to your trademark application named XXXXXX. Upon reviewing your application, it has come to our attention that while you initiated the trademark application process, you did not proceed with the government classifications, resulting in an incomplete filing. Unfortunately, due to this incomplete filing, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has received another application for the same trademark and name.
The USPTO has notified us that there is a potential conflict between your application and the new application. To resolve this matter, we need your immediate clarification on your intent to proceed with the registration of the trademark under the same name and mark. If you still intend to proceed with the trademark registration, we require your confirmation within the next 24 hours. Failure to confirm your intention to register will result in the USPTO transferring the rights to the trademark name and mark to the new applicant. Please understand that time is of the essence, and we strongly recommend that you respond promptly to this email. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately at XXXXXXXXXXX.
We understand the significance of your trademark and are committed to helping you navigate this situation. Your swift action will ensure the protection of your rights and interests.

First of all, this isn’t how trademark applications work at all. Second of all, the party contacting the applicant is not the USPTO, it’s some criminal trying to fool people into giving them money.

2. Phone Scam. The scammers are getting bolder! Some scammers will now search for the applicant’s phone number (for example, if a business applicant’s number is listed online, or if the applicant’s phone number appears in the trademark application), and call the applicant. They will say they are from something like the “Trademark Application Assistance Unit” (there is no such thing) and say that an additional deposit is required to complete the application.

Again, these are fraudsters, and any contact from them, in writing or over the phone, should be ignored.

If my firm files your trademark application, the trademark office will only correspond directly with me (unless we discuss otherwise). I will then communicate with you and deal with the USPTO. If you receive anything that seems suspicious, contact me before doing anything else. Even if it doesn’t seem suspicious, you should still contact me.

Have trademark questions? Contact me.

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