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Posts Tagged ‘scams’

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: http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en/fees/invoices_2015.html

TPP SCAM_001

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

I recently received a new trademark solicitation regarding a registered trademark that I own, and an offer to publish it in a private database. The company calls itself “Patent & Trademark Association” or “P.T.M.A.” with an address in New York, NY. See the image of their mailing that I scanned below.

I have never heard of this register. Of course! Because all of these private registers are worthless. No trademark profession I have met uses them (assuming they can even be used.) They are scams. And the cost is $755 for 2 years. I wonder how many people have been duped?

Also note that the address listed on their website appears to be a UPS store in New Jersey.

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.

PTMA mailer_001

For more information, see:

The solicitation below from the “International Patent and Trademark Service” is yet another bogus offer for a directory that has not real value or utility. In my 16 years counseling trademark client’s, I have never once recommended registering in a private directory o trademarks such as this. I have never once heard a trademark owner or attorney speak of any experience being a part of such a directory that benefited their trademark rights. The offer is not cheap, either. And it is a complete waste of funds.

IPTS mailer_redacted_001

You can search their trademark “directory” at http://ipts-register.com and good luck finding any successful brands listed there.

Both WIPO and the EPO warn brand owners about this solicitation. The USPTO warning page does not yet feature this one.

I generally report quite a lot of discouraging news on this blog about trademark scams – namely that they are rampant, that they seem to be increasing in number and scope, and that it generally appears that the government is doing little to counter them. However, yesterday brought some good news as the Federal government charged two persons with a mass mailing scam targeting trademark holders. These appear to be additional charges and details from the indictment brought in October 2015, as well as the involvement of a second person.

The two scams operated by these individuals were the Trademark Compliance Center (TCC) and the Trademark Compliance Office (TCO). In the past, I had written about each of these scams:

Warning: Trademark Compliance Center has nothing to do with the USPTO (6/26/2014)

Warning: U.S. Trademark Compliance Office has nothing to do with the USPTO (10/12/2015)

Some additional details from the Dept. of Justice press release:

Artashes Darbinyan, 36, and Orbel Hakobyan, 41, were charged in a superseding indictment that was unsealed today in the Central District of California with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  Darbinyan was also charged with four counts of mail fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of concealment money laundering and one count of bank fraud for a separate scheme.  Hakobyan was also charged with one count of bank fraud.

According to the superseding indictment, Darbinyan operated and controlled Trademark Compliance Center (TCC) and Trademark Compliance Office (TCO), which purported to offer trademark registration and monitoring services.  The superseding indictment alleges that, through TCC and TCO, Darbinyan sent mass solicitations offering, for a fee, trademark registration and monitoring services to holders of trademarks recently registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, services which Darbinyan did not intend to, and did not, provide.  To accomplish this scheme, Darbinyan used the names of other persons to open accounts for TCC and TCO at “virtual office centers” (i.e., businesses that offered call answering and mail forwarding services) in the Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles areas, and directed employees of the Washington, D.C.-area virtual office centers to forward mail addressed to TCC and TCO – envelopes containing payments from trademark holders – to the virtual office centers in the Los Angeles area, the superseding indictment alleges.

While this is great news for trademark holders, and perhaps it will give pause to some of the others operating scams, I have some questions: How was this case initiated? Has the DoJ investigated other scam outfits? How long was the investigation?