If you’ve ever purchased a trademark package from Destination Legal, you know that when we confirm your filing we also include the following in our email “watch out for trademark SPAM! You may get mail that looks official, it’s NOT, toss it.”  

But inevitably, I still get client emails like “Sarah, what is this?! I thought everything was paid for? What should I do?” And then they are relieved when I tell them, just throw it away. 

Unfortunately, where there is value (like having a trademark), there are also scammers seeking to exploit unsuspecting individuals and businesses. I haven’t really gone too much into this topic before so today I want to raise some awareness about trademark scams, empower you with knowledge, and provide guidance on how to safeguard yourself and your business from falling victim to these schemes.

So first, what are Trademark Scams? 

Trademark scams are fraudulent activities that prey on individuals and businesses seeking trademark registration or protection. These scams typically involve misleading offers, deceptive practices, and exorbitant fees for services that are either unnecessary, ineffective, or simply non-existent. I am telling you, I see these letters and I literally do not know how these people SLEEP AT NIGHT.  

Scammers exploit the desire of brand owners to protect their trademarks and intellectual property rights, employing tactics that can be difficult to spot for those unfamiliar with trademark laws and procedures.

Here are the Most Common Types of Trademark Scams:

1. Official-Looking Notices: Scammers often send official-looking letters or emails claiming to be from government agencies or international trademark offices. They may state that your trademark is at risk or offer unnecessary services to maintain or register your mark at inflated prices. 

One thing to keep in mind is that when you work as an attorney ALL communication from the trademark office goes through them so anything coming to you and your alarm bells should go off!

2. Bogus Trademark Directories: Fraudulent companies create online directories that promise “increased visibility and protection” for your trademark. These directories have no legal standing and mean absolutely nothing, yet they charge significant fees for listing your mark.
3. Domain Name Scams: Scammers monitor trademark applications and registrations to identify potential targets. They then register similar domain names and offer them to trademark holders at inflated prices, claiming that they are protecting the brand. Trademark Bullies are what they are! 

ICK, right?!  Here is how you can protect yourself (and you’re off to a great start because now you KNOW to be on the lookout)

→ Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with the trademark registration and protection process. The more informed you are, the better equipped you will be to identify potential scams.

We have a lot of info right here! 

→ Verify the Sender: Scrutinize all correspondence related to trademarks you have filed. Check the sender's identity, contact details, and the authenticity of the organization. 

→ Use Professionals: Hello! Hi! Work with reputable intellectual property attorneys who can provide expert advice and assistance throughout the trademark registration process. We can help you identify scams and ensure your rights are protected.

→ Beware of the Unsolicited Offers: Be wary of unsolicited offers for trademark-related services, especially those accompanied by excessive fees or aggressive deadlines. Conduct thorough research and verify the credibility of the service provider before engaging with them.

It sucks, but it is happening.  Trademark scams continue to evolve, taking advantage of businesses' desires to protect their brands.  But now you know and the best way to safeguard your trademark and not get taken advantage of is to have someone on your side. Destination Legal is HERE to help, our full service trademark package provides everything you need and you won’t have to worry about these awful scammers!

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