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Essential Tips to Protect Yourself from Trademark Scams

May 23, 2024

This is the logo of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). As you see above, the ® indicates that the mark owner, the USPTO, has registered this mark with…itself. By doing this, the USPTO can now avail itself by way of the Lanham Act and other laws that apply to federally registered trademarks. But…being the agency responsible for reviewing and approving trademark applications and maintaining registries for the U.S. government, why would the USPTO itself need to register its logo as a mark? The short answer: To provide protection from scammers!

​​Since the pandemic in 2020, the trademark space has become inundated with criminals attempting to scam individuals and businesses out of money by fraudulent means. This is true for trademark owners who are Fortune 500 companies and for trademark owners who are individuals and small businesses.  So how are individuals and “mom-and-pop shops” supposed to make heads or tails out of the spam, phishing, robocalls, and various other means the criminals use in their attempts to obtain money from trademark owners by fraudulent means? The following list is a guide to some quick tips to avoid falling victim to these sophisticated fraudulent attempts:

  • Repeat after me: THE USPTO DOES NOT ASK YOU FOR MONEY VIA MAIL, EMAIL, OR IN ADVANCE OF ANY FILING. If you get an unsolicited flyer or email that says “pay $500 to keep your trademark registration alive”, this is a scam. Your trademark lawyer may ask you for money in the form of an Invoice if a filing in your trademark application or registration is required, but this is the ONLY time you will be asked to pay money related to your trademark to keep your application or registration “alive”.  
  • In addition: USPTO employees will NEVER ask you for payment information. Payments for trademark applications and services may only be submitted to the USPTO via the TEAS system (online).
  • If you have an attorney who has submitted your trademark application or who is listed as the Attorney of Record on your trademark registration, the USPTO will NOT call you. In fact, it is rare that the USPTO will even call your attorney. The most common form of communication coming from the USPTO regarding your trademark is going to be email
  • The USPTO logo on the email or flyer does NOT mean that this piece of communication came from the USPTO. Scammers pretend to be the USPTO all the time in an attempt to defraud unsuspecting people and businesses. And this is why the Office had to apply for and register its own name and logo!
  • The USPTO does not text. Any texts regarding your trademark, unless they are from your trademark attorney as discussed above, are attempts at fraud or phishing.
  • Look for typos. This is a quick and easy way to spot spam and move on from it.
  • Look for the word “URGENT”. The USPTO is never going to call anything “URGENT”. This word is designed to elicit action (i.e., PAYMENT) from the victim.
  • Look for “.gov” at the end of any email address. The USPTO is considered part of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, and if an email IS a valid notification from the USPTO, the .gov will be at the end of the domain name of the Sender of that email. If this is not the case, the email is a spam/phishing attempt.
  • When in doubt, ask an attorney. Always ask an attorney if you receive an email or piece of mail that pertains to your trademark. Chances are, it’s junk mail or a phishing attempt, but before you pay ANYTHING to anyone, check with an experienced trademark attorney or firm for guidance.
  • If you are maintaining your own trademark registration with the USPTO, you can always check the status of your mark at and verify any items due to the USPTO, deadlines for submission, etc.