The USPTO recently sent “United States Trademark Registration Office” a cease and desist letter related to the company’s sending invoice that resemble official USPTO communications. The USPTO also placed a warning prominently on the trademark section of its website.
It appears that the company has not been deterred. I received the solicitation below from them last week related to a pending trademark application owned by our firm. The solicitation is a scam/bogus/worthless (chose your own term) for the following reasons:
- It looks and feels like correspondence from the US Patent and Trademark Office. Note that it cites the U.S. Code (“U.S.C.”) several times to make it look official
- It says: “Reply By: DUE NOW”
- The “agreement” on the back indicates that USTRO is not liable for any damages beyond the fee paid to them. So if they make an error causing cancellation of your registration or failing to notify you of a possibly infringement that their “monitoring” service should have caught, your recourse is to recover $375.00. Those errors could cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees and other expenses.
- The USPTO record on which the solicitation is based, for TTABULATOR, is not yet registered, so it is not yet eligible for recordation by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”).
- The trademark has been applied to register at the USPTO in connection with services (“On-line journals, namely, blogs featuring information in the fields of law, trademarks and intellectual property”). Since it is impossible or extremely rare to import “services” through a port of entry monitored by CBP, it is not a common practice to record service marks with CBP.
Unfortunately, i appears that it remains to be seen if and when USTRO will stop taking advantage of trademark applicants and registrants.