Posted by ipelton on: October 9th, 2015
On the heels of my post last week about how New trademark scams continue to proliferate, I decided to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding a solicitation I received for one of the trademark registrations I own. I submitted a complaint online via https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ regarding Patent&Trademark Bureau.
I specifically noted that the services were unclear (are they legal?), the price was unfair, and the correspondence resembles government communication. I provided a link (there was no way to add an attachment) to the Patent&Trademark Bureau sample solicitation from the USPTO’s website.
I expected that someone would review my complaint. Perhaps they would investigate further, team up with the USPTO, or respond in detail to my request. I certainly did not expect what happened next. One day later, I received the following response via email:
Thank you for contacting the Federal Trade Commission. We have reviewed your complaint and have determined that the following information may assist you.
Government Imposter Scams – http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0048-government-imposter-scams
That’s it? Case closed? This is the totality of the Federal Trade Commission’s response to a specific complaint? The link is to a web page about “Government Imposter Scams” and tips how to avoid them. The link contains ZERO information about trademark scams. Also, I already know how to avoid government imposter scams, that is why I submitted information to the FTC about a particular one.
When I submitted a single complaint to the FTC, I did not believe that it would solve the trademark scam problem, where thousands (tens of thousands) of trademark owners receive bogus solicitations every week from companies that offer nothing substantive and/or impersonate the government. But I certainly expected a response from the FTC that was more than a mere link to a generic FTC webpage.