Here is yet another way scammers are trying to part you from your hard-earned money.
The USPTO recently announced that trademark holders are receiving letters in the mail requesting payment on fees due for the trademarks.
The fraudulent solicitations include offers such as: for legal services; for trademark monitoring services; to record trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and to “register” trademarks in the company’s own private registry.
Furthermore, these scammers are using letterhead that mimics the look of official government documents and are using names that resemble the USPTO, such as “United States,” “U.S.,” “Trademark,” “Patent,” “Registration,” “Office,” or “Agency.”
The Department of Justice reported that these scams resulted in the loss of approximately $1.66 million from copyright holders, and has only resulted in 5 convictions.
So, if you get a letter in the mail stating that it’s from the USPTO office read the letter carefully before making a decision about whether to respond. According to the USPTO “All official correspondence will be from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, VA, and if by e-mail, specifically from the domain “@uspto.gov.”
What do you do if you are a victim?
File an online consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). See here.
The USPTO has offered several examples of just some of the non-USPTO solicitations that have been mailed out, which can be reviewed here.
Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groups, Google+ Circles. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.