Over the past 3-4 months, we have been alerted to multiple email scams which have been sent to several of our clients. Some of the scams deceptively suggest that they are being sent by the US Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) or other “official” trademark agency and include a customized invoice listing the recipient’s corporate name, address, and pending trademark application details and encourage the mark owner to pay the invoiced amount so that the mark can be listed in a catalog. This “catalog” has nothing to do with the official publication of examined marks provided by the USTPO. The email often includes language such as, “protecting your trademark is your responsibility,” or other text which falsely suggests the brand owner is required to pay the accompanying invoice in order to maintain US or foreign trademark rights.

Other fraudulent marketing tactics involve emails from individuals or companies based outside the US (we have seen emails from companies in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and several countries in the EU) stating, often “on an urgent basis,” that a third-party has contacted them to immediately register a company name, trademark, or country-code domain name (e.g., “clientname”.com.hk or “clientname”.hk) identical to the email recipient’s company name. As a “precaution,” the emailer claims to be reaching out to see if the ”rightful” name/mark owner is interested in registering with them first to avoid having someone else own their name or trademark.  

We have also learned of an instance in which a mark owner was called by an individual from a Michigan-based phone number claiming to be a "United States Patent and Trademark Verification Officer" in an attempt to request collect fake trademark “fees.”

Please be vigilant of these types of “fear marketing” scams. Keep in mind that almost all USPTO, foreign TM registry, and foreign counsel correspondence and invoices regarding your trademarks that are being handled by PLG will first go through PLG and not directly to you or your company’s marketing, accounting, or inhouse legal departments. Do not respond to any of these email inquiries without first forwarding them to PLG so we can confirm whether or not they have any connection with your pending US or foreign trademark applications or active trademark registrations.

Note: This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and distributor of this publication and/or any linked publication are not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters and, accordingly, assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

Media Contact

Marlene Laro

Practice Areas

Recent News

Jump to Page

By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use