February 29, 2012
Protecting your trademark is a key part of your business. And scam artists know that. Because trademark filings are public information, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) databases and the Official Gazette, which is published weekly by the USPTO, are often mined by hucksters looking to earn a quick buck. Scams include requesting payment to be added to an alternate unofficial trademark registry or to secure foreign domain name rights, e.g. trademark.cn. The communications are often marketed with graphics like the American flag and variations on the USPTO name, such as USTRO or USTPA. Fraudulent companies often send frenetic correspondence regarding the need to renew a mark or face abandonment months before actual renewals become due, and hence months before valid correspondence from your law firm handling the trademark application would be received. If you receive any such correspondence, please read it carefully and contact the attorney handling your trademark affairs to avoid being fleeced by such frauds. Additional information from the USPTO about such scams is available here.
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