I received another specious offer from the ‘Patent & Trademark Office’ of New York, NY last week. See below for the offer and envelopes. This mail could easily be mistaken as coming from the government – the “Patent & Trademark Office” name, the look and feel of the document, and the official looking bar code. In addition, the services offered and the costs indicated are questionable.

The mailer raises numerous questions, including:

  • If this was a legitimate service at a reasonable value, why would they mask who they are, and why would they choose the clearly deceptive name of “Patent & Trademark Office”?
  • Could they be liable for impersonating a government agency or officials? In the fine print they even abbreviate their business names as ‘PTO.’
  • The website claims that they are “the nation’s premier Trademark and Patent renewal service.” Based on what? Who are they? What are their names so we can review their experience?
  • The website also claims that “The Patent Trademark Office provides the expertise that modern businesses need to navigate the Trademark and Patent renewal processes.” What is their expertise? Former USPTO examiners? How many years of law practice? Membership in relevant trademark law organizations? Again, who are the principles names so that consumers can verify their claims?
  • Do they provide legal advice? Is there a privileged attorney-client relationship formed?
  • Does their fee cover Section 8 and Section 15 filing? Will they provide consultation about the benefits of a Section 15 filing?
  • Do they provide advice and counseling about what evidence of use is necessary for the renewal filing?
  • The fine print states “Your trademark or patent will be renewed as it was originally filed, with the originally filed specimen (if applicable) or with the specimen (if applicable) filed in the latest renewal.” Is this an admission that the renewal filing will not contain current evidence of use? Is this an admission that the renewal filing could be fraudulent or contain false statements?
  • Does the fee quoted include the USPTO filing fees? Based on the fine print, it appears they do not.
  • The fine print states “the “Agreement” shall be governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of New York.” Perhaps the NY Attorney General ought to investigate?

They have been at this for several years. See 2015 and 2016 examples provided by the USPTO. Why can’t more be done to stop this and protect consumers?

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

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