Trademark registration is definitely one of the proudest moments of your life. It means to have created something that has the potential to be the hottest product on the market. However, with these good times, come bad times, like someone trying to scam you. A trademark lawyer can help you get out of these situations.
A Trademark Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Scams Involving Trademarks
A trademark registration is a high point of your life. It means you have been able to put your business on track and now the only way to go is up. The trademark registration also ensures that your business and its resources are protected.
Once you can rest easy about your business being safeguarded and you can focus on your work. Then you get an ‘official’ letter asking you to follow certain procedures for renewing your registration or threatening you about losing your trademark, etc., and you pay up fearing the worst. Before you know it, some scrupulous elements have scammed you.
If this has happened to you or anyone you know, contact a trademark lawyer as soon as possible. Trademark scams are a common occurrence, and you should take steps to avoid it.
The way the scams operate
Once you have registered your trademark with the USPTO or the United States Patent and Trademark Office, there are certain obligations you need to fulfill such as renewal, etc. But it has to be done the right way.
Since details of trademark owners are publicly available, many dodgy businesses have come up that offer trademark renewal. People believe them because their correspondence sounds official and they seem to have all your trademark details. Little do people know that the information can be accessed easily on the internet.
The scammers work in various ways. For one, the company’s name may look almost legitimate, such as US Patent office, Trademark association, etc. They may send you an invoice that asks you for a big fee in return for the renewal of your trademark. The invoice may also say that if you fail to pay the said amount within the deadline, your trademark will cease to exist. Sometimes, they may also use a law firm’s name to dupe you.
There are some who send a letter to trademark owners warning them against using their trademark by falsely claiming that it belongs to a rival. If you receive any such letters or calls, you should first speak to an intellectual property lawyer. They will take the necessary steps.
Points to note to prevent being scammed
When you file your trademark application through a trademark lawyer, the USPTO will only communicate with the lawyer and not you, as he is the ‘Attorney of Record.’
The USPTO does not accept any payments directly or via invoices. They do not send any bills as well. The payments have to be done online through its website.
Note the address and domain name of the USPTO, which are Alexandria, Virginia and ‘uspto.gov.’ Any other addresses or domain names and you should know that they are scams.
Tips to avoid trademark scams
The first thing you should do is to speak to your trademark attorney. They will know what to be done and what steps to take to bring such scammers to book.
Always check the status of your trademark on your own. It can be easily done online, and you will know all about renewal.
If the renewal date is further away, and you receive a letter asking you to renew your trademark registration, then probably it is a scam and hoping to extort money from you. You should also know that USPTO sends you a reminder only when the deadline approaches and not before that.
The scam letters or any other mode of communication may seem legal because they choose names that are similar to USPTO but do not fall into their trap, no matter how urgent it may seem.
If and when you want to renew, either do it yourself by logging into the website of USPTO with the domain ‘@uspto.gov’ or do it through your intellectual property lawyer Philadelphia.
Visit the website of USPTO and read what guidelines about registration renewals and trademark scams they have put up.
You can also lodge a complaint with FTC or Federal Trade Commission.
Remember, scammers cannot fool you if you pay a little attention and take the necessary steps listed above.
Your trademark is of utmost importance to you, and any reason or people who make you think that you are going to lose can be unnerving and shocking. In such a case, instead of jumping out of your chair and falling into the trap, act sensibly. Contact USPTO authorities, talk to your lawyer and shut down the scammer.
The legal team of Paul & Paul are always ready to hear out any questions, comments, or concerns regarding trademarks. To know more about trademark scams, or to know how to deal with them if you have been scammed, give us a call at 866-975-7231.