While mail scams are not a new issue for businesses, more and more of our business and individual clients with federally registered trademarks have been asking us for advice on how to handle the numerous unsolicited letters and/or emails they have been receiving lately regarding their marks. If you or your business owns a federally registered trademark, then you have probably been the recipient of at least one such unsolicited letter stating that you owe “fees” related to your trademark or that you must provide confidential account information relating to your business and trademark.
To be clear, being the owner of a trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers numerous benefits, one of which is that your registration can serve as a basis for obtaining trademark registration and brand rights in foreign countries. However, a federal trademark registration can, and most likely will, make you a target for foreign scammers. Since federal trademark registrations are a matter of public record, foreign scammers use information from the USPTO's database to send trademark solicitations in the hopes of retrieving confidential and/or sensitive banking account information and/or duping trademark owners into paying fees which are not necessary to maintain their USPTO federal trademark registration. Many of these letters look like they come from very legitimate sources, and, in some cases, appear as if they are being sent from the USPTO itself.
However, do not be fooled.
We have attached an example scam letter that one of our clients recently received below. If you are the recipient of a similar letter or solicitation, remember to conduct your due diligence so as not to fall prey to a similar scam. If you are questioning the authenticity of any solicitation relating to your trademark or require legal assistance in maintaining or filing for a state or federal trademark registration, remember to consult with your legal counsel and/or give us a call for a consultation.