BEWARE: Non-USPTO Solicitations Resembling Official Communications

October 31, 2012

Marshall, Gerstein & Borun wishes to alert its clients about the prevalence of official-looking notices that are nothing more than trademark or domain name related solicitations or, worse, scams.

A number of companies are using official U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) information and forms, and sending out official-looking solicitations for trademark clearance, watching, and registration services. Many of these services are unnecessary or inadequate, and utilizing them may affect the validity or scope of rights in trademark registrations. A recent spate of solicitations for trademark renewal and watch services using official-looking forms has led to a number of complaints to the USPTO. As a result, the USPTO has updated and expanded its warning, and posted a list of some of the deceptive notices that are being distributed by unauthorized entities and can be ignored. The list can be found at:

In addition, trademark and domain name owners may also receive official-looking solicitations to register trademarks or domain names in international registries. These registries charge exorbitant fees for listings which provide no rights or protection. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has posted a warning about scams implying association with WIPO and a list of deceptive solicitations requesting payment of fees.

If Marshall, Gerstein & Borun is responsible for your marks, you will receive timely notices from us about any required action. If you are a client and receive an official-looking communication relating to one of your marks, please forward it to us or submit a copy to the U.S. government for investigation at [email protected], enclosing a copy of the questioned communication, an indication whether you believed that the communication was an official mailing, and stating whether you sent money to the sender.

Please also contact us if there are any other trademark clearance, watch, or registration concerns.

The information contained in this alert is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice. Under applicable rules of professional conduct, this communication may constitute Attorney Advertising. © 2012 MARSHALL, GERSTEIN & BORUN LLP, Chicago, Illinois. All rights reserved.