Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Trademark owners should beware of scams

New Jersey trademark owners and applicants should remain vigilant against ruses designed to compel them to purchase unnecessary trademark services. Scammers are obtaining the names of the owners from a database at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and are pretending to operate on behalf of the USPTO. The prevalence of this practice has been so rampant that a public meeting was held by the USPTO in order to spread awareness about the issue and to propose methods for combating it.

The scamming organizations frequently use names that are similar to those of government organizations. They will obtain information about a certain application or registration and will design official-like documentation requesting payment related to the targeted trademark. The scam artists are using a variety of forms for their solicitations and offer services like monitoring for similar trademarks, the filing of renewal and maintenance documentation or recording registrations or applications in phony directories.

The scamming organizations also tend to take money from their victims without providing any type of service. This can be very problematic for their victims because the registrations will not be current if the correct filings are not submitted. All owners of a trademark application or registration should be aware that any official communication regarding federal trademarks will be issued by the USPTO, which is located in Alexandria, Virginia and will have a 22313 zip code. Any communication that is sent by email will be sent from the '@uspto.gov" domain.

Individuals who are concerned about protecting their trademark should speak with an attorney who practices trademark law. The attorney may advise of how trademarks can be registered with the proper authorities and what type of protections the registration provides. If necessary, the attorney may engage in litigation to prevent infringement.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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