Beware of Convincing Trademark Scams

Beware of Convincing Trademark Scams

Trademark registration brings many benefits to your business, including greater leverage against online infringements, presumptions recognized in courts that support your trademark rights, and added legitimacy to your trademark and brand. Unfortunately, trademark scams are nothing new. Trademark applications and registrations are public records, so registrants and applicants might receive solicitations from third parties offering useless services to allegedly supplement protection of the mark.

Common Types of Trademark Scams

  • Impersonation scams: Scammers create anxiety and confusion by posing as an “official” entity or representative who tries to convince you that you must take immediate action to save or prosecute your trademark or service mark. This usually involves a transfer of money from you or your company to the scammer.
  • Fake official requests: Applicants sometimes receive phone calls right before the final step in registration from someone posing as an attorney for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. These callers may seem like they have information about your mark and may indicate that you need to pay a nonexistent fee to complete registration. Be aware: no one from the USPTO will ever call an applicant or registrant to ask for money.
  • Misleading service offers: Another scam involves using fake entity names that sound like an official government department or regulatory agency, such as “The United States Trademark Registry,” “Trademark Office,” or “The U.S. Federal Registry.” These scammers may offer actual services—such as renewals—but at a heavily overpriced rate. They also often require prepayment years before the renewal is due. As a result, the Registrant pays excessive funds much earlier than any funds are due.

Safeguarding Your Trademark Rights

When you obtain your trademark registrations through Kennyhertz Perry, the attorney responsible for your work is named as the correspondent with the USPTO. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that the Trademark Office would ever contact the Registrant (you) directly, meaning most of these communications are scams. Watch out for:

  • Fake invoices: Solicitations may look like an invoice and state that you must pay a specified amount to avoid losing your trademark rights.
  • Unnecessary registrations: You might be urged to list or register your mark with a private registry or service, which is often unnecessary.

Beware of Domain Name Scams

Scammers might also contact you with concerns about another entity registering your mark as a domain name on Asian top-level domains like .hk, .cn, or .asia. This is usually an attempt to sell unnecessary domain registrations. Unless you have a strong presence in Asia or market through Asian online channels, this is not likely to add much value to your mark or brand.

Stay Vigilant and Informed

Unfortunately, scams are a fact of life in the modern world. If you ever feel unsure about a solicitation you receive, please call your attorney at Kennyhertz Perry. We’ll clear up your concerns and address any other questions you might have. Just remember to stay alert and do not send money or provide credit card information to unscrupulous solicitors.

By Arthur Chaykin, Kennyhertz Perry, LLC

Arthur Chaykin is head of Kennyhertz Perry’s Intellectual Property practice. He was formerly a Vice-President of Law at the Sprint Corporation where he served as, in succession, their chief litigator, the head of the business law department, and Vice President of the first legal department at Sprint supporting marketing and sales in all areas of Sprint’s business: international, wireless, wireline, local and long-distance services. At Sprint, he also served as the head lawyer for Sprint Ethics and Compliance program. He has since served as General Counsel to a major manufacturer and distributor of automotive lifting equipment and automotive accessories and has represented numerous clients on trademark matters, copyright cases, trade secrets disputes, food safety regulatory issues, and consumer product safety issues. has over 35 years of legal experience handling trademark, patent, copyright, and trade secret litigation and arbitration.

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