Are you a target? If you hold a trademark, the answer is yes.
Trademark applicants and registrants receive scam trademark solicitations seeking money for “watch” services or for filing “maintenance declarations” due between years 5 and 6 following the date of registration of a trademark. These maintenance documents are commonly called the Section 8/15 Declarations which are required to maintain a registration in effect.
Trademark solicitation scammers access trademark owners’ address in the public records, and send “invoices” appearing to be from the U.S. Trademark Office or some other “official” government entity. Legal professionals advise clients to immediately toss these solicitations and most do. Ironically, the U.S. Trademark Office, the government agency charged with preventing consumer deception and confusion, has done nothing to take legal action.
Still, a recent increase in activity indicates these underhanded companies are becoming more aggressive.
Want to see examples of real trademark scam solicitation letters? View a PDF on the Hodgson Legal website and see if any look familiar. If they do, you may need legal assistance.
According to our expert Cheryl Hodgson, one client at Hodgson Legal last week received invoices from a Los Angeles-based company seeking payment for the filing of Section 8/15 declarations that are due for nearly two years! Like many firms, Hodgson Legal maintains a calendaring system to notify clients well in advance of the deadlines, and to make sure that maintenance, as well as watch services are handled by the most effective and relevant means for each client.
Filing your trademark isn’t enough. Maintenance and enforcement is another ballgame entirely. Don’t fall for trademark solicitations from scam artists. There are legitimate trademark monitoring services out there, and you can find more information on them in this previous Brandaide article.