Posts Tagged ‘scams’

Tip: Avoiding Chinese domain name scams

Posted by ipelton on: July 28th, 2016
This month, I have received several inquiries from people who received emails purporting to be about other companies trying to register domain names in Asia that correspond to their domain names or trademarks.

The emails look something like this:

Dear Mr./Ms.,

We are a service agency for registering domain names. Our center received an application from Rose Zhu International today. They applied for the registration of {your trademark} as their Brand Name and some top-level domain names. But we found the main body of domain names is same as yours. We are not sure about the relationship between you and them. As the registrar, we have the duty to inform you the case.
Now, we are processing this application. Our center needs to confirm whether this company is authorized by your company. If so, we will continue the next step of registration. If not, please let me know as soon as possible in order that our center can deal with this problem timely. We await your prompt reply.
Or they look like this:
Dear Sir or Madam,
We are the department of Asian Domain Registration Service in China. Here I have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on {insert date} that a company claimed “Num & Alg Group LTD” were applying to register erikpelton as their Brand Name and some domain names through our firm.
Now we are handling this registration and after our initial checking, we found the names are similar to your company’s, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you authorized this, we would finish the registration at once. But if you did not authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we could handle this issue better. After the deadline, we will unconditionally finish the registration for “Num & Alg Group LTD”. I am looking forward to your prompt reply.
If you receive any such email, copy and paste a sentence or two from the email into a search engine and read all about others who have received the scam.
DO NOT RESPOND TO THESE EMAILS. They are a total scam as far as I know, and as far as every single report I have ever read about them. No client of mine (more than 2,000 US trademark registrations) has ever had to shut down a .CN website to do infringement. If someone else did a .CN domain name that corresponded with your trademark, it would only be a concern if the domain owner used the domain, and used it in a way that competed with your business/trademark.  And if they did so, you would likely have rights under the UDRP to file a complaint and seek a transfer of the domain name.
If you have any evidence showing that these solicitations are real – and that they really relate to legitimate registration of a .CN domain name – please advise. Otherwise, stop wasting any time or energy on them.

Beware of “Trademark Renewal Service” in Washington, DC

Posted by ipelton on: June 22nd, 2016

Last week, I received a  trademark solicitation regarding a trademark registration renewal. The company calls itself “Trademark Renewal Service” with an address in Washington, DC. See the image of their mailing that I scanned below.

The document could easily be mistaken as coming from the government – the name, the look and feel of the document, the registration number, and the Washington address.

Their “fee” is $250 “to receive all documentation to renew your trademark…” Yet it is not clear what services they provide? Does receiving all the documentation mean that they are handling the renewal filing? Is the fee for a Section 8 renewal, or 8 and 15? Does the $250 include all the fees? Does the $250 include the government USPTO filing fees? The form asks for a “REPLY NO LATER THAN 6/30/16” yet the Section 8 filing is not due until 7/5/2017.

The form also came with an enclosed slip that makes the fee quote even more confusing.

Do “Trademark Renewal Service” provide legal advice about whether a Section 15 is appropriate, and whether the mark is in use or in use for all the goods and services in the registration, or what the options may be if the mark is not currently in use? Are they attorneys and members of the bar?

If this was a legitimate service at a reasonable value, why would they mask who they are, and why would they choose the odd (generic!) name of “Trademark Renewal Service”? Properly protecting trademarks – and trademark registrations – is more than just filling out a form.

Beware of such scams. Read the fine print. Contact your attorney. Report scams to the FTC and USPTO.

For more information, see USPTO’s WARNING: Non-USPTO Solicitations That May Resemble Official USPTO Communications

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Another month, another new trademark scam appears (or re-appears after a hiatus). This one from “Brand Registration Office” features:

  • an office in Washington, DC,
  • a government sounding name,
  • a seal in the top left of the offer,
  • the “Trademark Selection Edition 2016,”
  • a cost of $1,325, and
  • wiring instructions through Germany.

This “publication” has no real value to trademark owners. I have never met a trademark professional who relies on any private directories for anything. They are incomplete and unofficial. They do not add to your trademark’s protection in any meaningful way.

I have published their solicitation below.

If you have been taken by this scam, I suggest that you file a complaint with the FTC, write a letter to the USPTO Commissioner, and contact law enforcement.

Beware of such scams. Read the fine print. Contact your attorney. Report scams to the FTC and USPTO.

It continues to astound me that the USPTO, DOJ, FTC, and others refuse to better investigate and halt these blatant scams targeting trademark owners.



I have received notice from several clients recently that they were mailed offers from Trademark & Patent Publications. While the offers contain disclaimers, they look like government documents and contain the application serial number. This “publication” has no value (despite the price tag of $1560). I know of no trademark professionals who consult these types of directories and they do not add to the brand owner’s trademark protection.

See WIPO scam warning here:


Yet another scam targeting owners of trademark registrations. This one looks like so many that we have already seen over the last few years. It is from IPTI – International Patent & Trademark Index. For just $2,356 they will register your trademark their database. I have never heard of their database, their database is not complete, and I have never once heard a trademark professional refer to their database as a resource.

Will the USPTO, TPAC, the Department of Justice, the Small Business Administration, the Federal Trademark Commission, the Department of Commerce, or the U.S. Postal Service ever get serious about stopping these scam solicitations and prosecuting the offenders?

WIPO also appears to feature a warning about IPTI, but the USPTO page has no details on them.

IPTI mailing_redacted_001