Warning Notice of a New Type of Fake Trade Mark Payment Letter

Warning Notice of a New Type of Fake Trade Mark Payment Letter

Have you recently received a letter from the "Patent and Trademark Office" in Washington, DC? An official looking letter that demands payment and warns that your trade mark will be cancelled if you don’t pay? Here is one received by one of our clients recently. The letter gives the impression it’s a genuine communication from the USPTO with a US address, and asks for $925 to renew a trade mark. The letter has a graphic representation of the trade mark and the serial number of the mark, and an official-looking barcode on the letter. But this is not an official letter - it is sent from a private company and is a scam.

These private companies often use information freely available from the USPTO’s databases to send solicitations for, among other things, legal services, trade mark monitoring and renewal services, or registration of trade marks in unofficial publications or ‘registers’.

How can you tell it is a scam?

  • Read the fine print – in the letter the company admits that it is a ‘non-governmental company and is not connected to any of the governmental organizations’. Also, typos, poor grammar and spelling errors are common in this type of scam.
  • The USPTO will direct all official communications to your attorney or contact person of record, but this letter was sent direct to the company address. Also, all official correspondence will come from the ‘United States Patent and Trademark Office’ in Alexandria, VA, and if by e-mail, specifically from the domain ‘@uspto.gov.’
  • These letters often include a pre-paid reply envelope, as in this case, to encourage you to pay the ‘fee’ as quickly as possible.

 

 

 

 

What to do?

If you receive an unsolicited invitation, do not pay it until you have checked what services are being offered and if it is from an official source. We would always recommend that you check with your intellectual property attorney.

Many thanks to our client, SPTS Technologies Limited, for agreeing to allow us to reproduce the fake letter in its entirety. SPTS followed the best practice on dealing with these scam letters, and immediately brought it to our attention.

Ian Lambert and Susanna Stephen

 

Related News

US Inventor Declarations and Assignments
news

US Inventor Declarations and Assignments

After a patent application has been filed, the inventor may be required to sign and submit various forms.  What happens if this is several years into the patent process, and the inventor can no longer be reached to sign these forms?  And what can you do now to prevent any complications from arising?

UKIPO ending temporary fee changes on 31 March 2021
news

UKIPO ending temporary fee changes on 31 March 2021

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) temporarily reduced or removed certain official fees associated with patents, trade marks and registered designs because of the disruption caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the temporary fee changes are set to end on 31 March 2021.

Insurance for IP Litigation Costs
news

Insurance for IP Litigation Costs

If you own any intellectual property (IP) rights, are you concerned about your exposure to litigation, and how you will finance any legal action?  One way to address this concern is by means of an insurance policy.

Does owning IP rights improve economic performance?
news

Does owning IP rights improve economic performance?

A recent study performed by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has shown that companies which own at least one patent, trade mark or registered design generate on average 20% higher revenues per employee and pay their staff on average 19% higher wages compared to companies that do not own any of these intellectual property (IP) rights.

Let it go!
news

Let it go!

Keeping an IP budget afloat despite sunk costs.

The cost of securing IP can be heavily front loaded. Examples of such costs include patent drafting, pre-filing searches, filing fees, etc. These costs become “sunk” costs in that they cannot be recovered. Because IP protection can be a relatively long process, at any time during the process there are likely to be significant “prospective” costs: future costs that may be wholly or partially avoided depending on actions taken.

Turkish Declarations of Use
news

Turkish Declarations of Use

Have you recently validated your European patent in Turkey?  Did you know that in addition to paying annual renewal fees, Turkish law also requires you to submit a public declaration stating whether you have actively worked your invention in Turkey?

Managing your business-critical IP during the COVID-19 crisis
news

Managing your business-critical IP during the COVID-19 crisis

UK businesses are fighting for survival during the continuing COVID-19 outbreak and trying to trade under difficult conditions, the likes of which haven’t been seen in the living memory of most business people. If you’re afraid that your business is going to the wall, it probably isn’t the top of your mind to pay for a patent application for your new technology or a registration of the trade mark for your brand new clothing range, right?  Where is the money coming from to invest in such luxuries as IP, we hear you say, when staff are being furloughed and orders have been postponed?

Videoconferencing: the future of oral proceedings at the EPO?
news

Videoconferencing: the future of oral proceedings at the EPO?

The European Patent Office has announced that videoconferencing will become the norm for oral proceedings before examination and opposition divisions until at least 15 September 2021. But is this a taste of what the future holds for oral proceedings at the EPO?

aipex logo aipex logo aipex logo