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Businesses should watch out for fake trademark law scams

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Business Law And Litigation |

Businesses put a lot of time, energy and money into building their reputations, and all that can be at risk if a competitor tries to confuse consumers by marketing an inferior product that is designed to imitate the original. To avoid that fate, many businesses choose to register trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Registration with the USPTO makes it much easier for businesses to protect their reputations, but registration by itself isn’t enough. Businesses must also be on the lookout for competitors who might attract customers with confusingly similar products or services. Protecting a trademark takes eternal vigilance.

Increasingly sophisticated scams

Unfortunately, some scammers try to play on this vigilance in order to trick business owners into paying for services they don’t need.

The USPTO reports that agents and customers have noticed an increasing number of fraudulent solicitations that claim to be from law firms that are conducting trademark searches for competing businesses. These solicitations often come in the form of a professional-looking email, but cite a fictional organization with a name like “Trademarks Compliance Center.” Some scammers go so far as to create websites for a nonexistent law firm in order to make their solicitations look more credible.

In many cases, these emails tell business owners that a rival business is trying to register a trademark with the same name as the recipient, and that they have 48-72 hours to respond or they could lose their trademark rights. If the scam works, the business owners may end up paying a fake law firm to take care of a problem that doesn’t exist.

The USPTO urges business owners who receive suspicious emails like these to talk to their own professional counsel to determine if the email sender is legitimate.