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I received yet another scam related to one of the trademark registrations I own. This one comes from IP Data (www.ip-data.biz).

The solicitation makes little if any sense. They actually appear to disclaim any connection other worthless registry services. They appear to be based in the Czech Republic. A copy of their offering is below.

Their offering costs $2,327. Is it worth a single dollar? Has any trademark attorney, judge, or trademark office consulted their “register” for anything?  I doubt it.

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I first wrote about these solicitations that offer absolutely no value a year and a half ago. According to the comments on my original blog post (see link below), these solicitations continue to be sent by the “International Catalogue of Trademarks.”

I know of not a single trademark attorney who has ever advised his or her clients to submit their trademark(s) to the “International Catalogue of Trademarks.”  I do not know of a single person or business who has ever read the “International Catalogue of Trademarks.”

Instead of spending your hard earned money on a worthless catalog listing, you could invest it in registration another trademark, perhaps a slogan or logo!

May 15, 2012 blog post: Beware of trademark scam from “International Catalogue of Trademarks”

 

It apears the the UK IPO has recently begun to crackdown on trademark scam services.  Specifically, according to their website (http://www.ipo.gov.uk/warning):

  • “Trading Standards have agreed to act as the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) “legal backstop” in relation to any non-broadcast advertisers who continue to break the rules on misleading advertising.”
  • “Any advertiser that persists in breaking the rules through misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair non-broadcast advertising can face referral from the ASA to Trading Standards who will consider taking legal action under consumer and business protection laws.”
  • NBC Bird & Pest Solutions Ltd recently complained to the ASA about a renewal invoice from Trademark Renewal Service Ltd. They felt the mailing was misleading as it was not clear it had been sent by a private company with no affiliation to the Intellectual Property Office. We are pleased to say that the ASA Council’s adjudication upheld the complaint. They considered the presentation of the Trademark Renewal Service Ltd mailing was misleading and ruled that it must not appear again in its current form.”

The report from the adjudication against  “Trademark Renewal Service Ltd” can be found here: http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2013/6/Trademark-Renewal-Service-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_220429.aspx. In sum, the group found that “the ad was misleading because it did not make clear that TRS was a private company with no link to the IPO.” As a result, ASA “told Trademark Renewal Service Ltd to amend the layout of its mailing to ensure it did not imply it was official correspondence from a company affiliated with the IPO.”

Hopefully the USPTO and the FTC will follow in the US with similar actions against these questionable and misleading services aimed at trademark owners.

 

Top Trademark Trends from 2013

Posted by ipelton on: January 13th, 2014

The world of trademarks in 2013 once again reflected the overall culture and economy of the United States. Trademark application filings increased slightly by just over 1%. The year’s most popular terms made it into many trademark applications, and the biggest news stories of the year were also reflected in the trademark records.

  • BOSTON STRONG. The Boston Marathon bombing in April was a major news story. Regrettably, within days multiple parties had filed to register BOSTON STRONG trademarks. Most of these applications have been refused initially by the USPTO for failing to function as an indicator of the source of goods or services.
  • REDSKINS. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board at the USPTO heard oral arguments in a case seeking to cancel the registered trademark rights of the Washington Redskins football team. The plaintiffs alleged that the term ‘Redskins’ is disparaging and thus cannot be registered. While the hearing before the Board was held in March, a decision is still forthcoming. The controversy over the ‘Redskins’ name continued throughout the year as players, celebrities, the President, and the NFL Commissioner all provided comments about their position on the name.

  • Top pop culture terms of 2013. The most popular words and phenomena in pop culture made their way into many trademark filings. Such applications included TWERKING, TWERK TEAM, TWERK FOR TROOPS, HASHTAG LABS, HASHTAG LUNCHBAG, HASHTAG CLOTHING, YOLO HOTEL, YOLONOTES, YOLO KIDS, YOLO DONUTS, MUSTACHE SMASH, MUSTACHE PRETZELS, MOUSTACHE BREWING CO.
  • #HASHTAGS. Dozens of trademark applications were filed with the USPTO in 2013 for marks featuring hashtags, including: #DREAMJOB, #RUNTHISTOWN, #WECANDOTHAT, and #TAGMEBRO.
  • Non-traditional marks. Brands in 2013 continued to expand their use and registration of non-traditional trademarks. Sounds, shapes, colors, moving graphics, and other non-traditional trademarks continue to be effective ways for brands to connect with consumers in a world where it is increasingly difficult to stand out among the myriad of advertisements. For example, Facebook applied to register the design of part of its mobile app menu, Lego applied to register the configuration of is yellow head piece, Pepperidge  Farm applied to register the three-dimensional configuration of its Goldfish cracker, and the University of Arkansas applied to register the sound of its “Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie!” cheer.
  • gTLDs. New “dot anything” top level domain names finally began going live late in 2013. To date, their impact on the internet and on brand owners has been less than most feared.
  • Trademark scams continue. Solicitations offering negligible or questionable services continue to get sent by a variety of companies, often with government-looking notices, to US trademark applicants and registrants. At the end of 2013, The U.K. intellectual property office began to crack down on such entities, partnering with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to handle complaints and consider legal sanctions. Perhaps the USPTO will follow suit in 2014?

What to look for in 2014. As the economy continues to grow slowly, it is likely that the number of new trademark applications will continue to rise. Expect even more trademark disputes to go viral via social media.

About Erik M. Pelton: Erik Pelton® has been making trademarks bloom since 1999® as the founder of Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC®, a boutique trademark law firm in Falls Church, Virginia. The firm has registered more than 1,900 U.S. trademarks for clients and has represented dozens of parties in trademark disputes. In 2013, Erik presented on trademark and branding issues to a variety of audiences, including the American Bar Association, Catholic University School of Law, and two high school classes.

More trademark scams: Trademark Owner’s Digest

Posted by ipelton on: December 11th, 2013

New scams targeting owners of trademark applications/and registration continue to proliferate. I’m still flabbergasted that the USPTO and the FTC are not actively doing more to go after these operations that clearly provide no real value.

The newest operations are called:

Trademark Owner’s Digest and

Brand Registration Office

See below for details of their “offers.”

FireShot Screen Capture #430 - 'Brand Registration Office' - www_brandregistrationoffice_com

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