The following is a transcript of a video, which can be seen here.
Have you received something in the mail purporting to be about your trademark and offering some sort of listing in an international directory or some other catalog of trademarks? The odds are what you received is a scam. I get emails and calls from clients every week asking about these particular scams, which are always tweaking and twisting to try to stay ahead because they must be working if they continue to operate because for years they’ve been sending out this mail with official looking documentation and government sounding names, asking people for money for something related to their trademarks. Some people must pay the money, must fall for the scam.
I want to discuss briefly what to be on the lookout for, how to avoid these scams, and how to report them.
First of all, if you work with a trademark attorney, any important correspondence should come from your attorney or directly from the US Patent and Trademark Office. The US Patent and Trademark Office uses the domain name uspto.gov, and their address is in Alexandria, Virginia. If you receive something from a government sounding office in Washington DC or New York, New York, or Philadelphia, all of which I have seen recently in these scams, you can know right away that that is not official correspondence from the USPTO.
If they are asking for money for some sort of directory or register or equivalent of yellow pages, book of brand names and trademarks, know that these directories are completely worthless. I’ve never once in 20 plus years seen one of these directories in person. I’ve never once used one of these directories. I’ve never once in any conversation with a colleague or anyone from the Patent and Trademark Office ever been asked to look at a directory or refer to one for any official business. They have zero, zero beneficial value. And yet they charge hundreds, if not several thousands of dollars to participate in this directory listing scam.
Beware of these offers. Again, the address is one tip. Another is these names like Patent and Trademark Institute, Glotrade, International Patent and Trademark Register, World Patent and Trademark Registry. All of these names are not the US Patent and Trademark Office and they are not official.
If you have any questions, contact your attorney. Contact the USPTO. Do a search on the web to try to learn more about it before you send anyone money related to some kind of directory offer. And finally, if you have been taken by one of these scams, I urge you to contact the FTC and the USPTO to notify them, provide them with details, so that hopefully it can help in the crackdown on these scam operators.