Trademark Renewal Scams
If you have a registered trademark, it is important to be cognizant of scams associated with the trademark renewal process. It is quite common for trademark owners to suddenly receive a random notice claiming that your mark is up for renewal and request substantial payment in order to file the necessary paperwork. This scam notice can be quite sophisticated and often includes a professional-looking header, domain reference, and accurate information regarding your trademark. Do not make the mistake of trying to comply with this “notice.”
This type of scam letter offering trademark-related services are becoming more common due to the availability of the United States Patent and Trade Office’s public database and search tool. To avoid becoming the victim to one of these fraudulent notices, here are some helpful tips:
- Renewal Notice from a Random Third Party
Generally, all official trademark correspondence is sent through the attorney of record on your trademark. This means the USPTO will use the law firm listed on your trademark as the first point of contact for all official trademark communications. As a result, if you receive a renewal notice from a random company or individual, exercise extreme caution and skepticism toward the correspondence.
- Fake Websites and Non-Existent Mailing Addresses
Fraudulent renewal notice letters can be identified by checking the website and mailing address listed on the letter. In many instances, the letter will feature a fake website and/or a non-existent mailing address.
Legitimate correspondence concerning your trademark can be identified by a “@uspto.gov” email address or physical mailers exclusively from the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia. Additionally, the only official website of the USPTO is uspto.gov. Letters that contain alternate websites or international addresses should be viewed with significant skepticism.
- Early Renewal Notice
It is important to know that trademark renewals occur at specific time internals:
- Five years after the date of registration;
- Between the ninth and tenth anniversary of the registration; and
- Every ten years thereafter.
Having an existing understanding of the trademark renewal process prior to receiving a scam letter can help you identify the correspondence as fraudulent quickly and efficiently. If you are already aware that your trademark is not up for renewal for another two years, it is much easier to dismiss the letter.
Other Types of Trademark Scams
Not all scam trademark notices are related to renewals. For example, you could receive a letter at any point during your trademark’s lifetime, regardless of a renewal deadline. The correspondence might mention a different filing, such as a statement of use or office action response, but it is still just as important to regard the notice with skepticism and confirm its legitimacy with a trademark attorney prior to taking any action.
Have Questions? Contact Omni Legal Group Today
If you are suspicious of correspondence you have received regarding your trademark, it is in your best interest to consult with a highly experienced trademark lawyer in Los Angeles such as the professionals at Omni Legal Group. Omni Legal Group is a premier Patent, Trademark, and Copyright law firm with offices in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills. For further information or to schedule a consultation please contact Omni Legal Group at 855.433.2226 or visit www.OmniLegalGroup.com to learn more.