Iowa Intellectual Property Blog

Don’t be scammed!
May. 8, 2012The Dickinson Law Newsroom, Iowa Intellectual Property Blog
Don't be scammed!

We are seeing increased client inquiries regarding notices from private companies relative to domain names and trademark
applications.  Both are scams!

As for domain names, many clients are receiving correspondence from domain registrars reporting that a third party is seeking to register a domain name which includes the client’s trademark.  Most, if not all of these notices, originate from Asia.  This correspondence offers the opportunity to register one or more domain names for a fee to stop the alleged infringement of the client’s mark.  In investigating these matters, the third party identified in the correspondence usually does not even exist. The registrar sending the correspondence is trying to scare companies into registering domain names when there is no need.  Internet registrars are under no obligation to inform a trademark owner that a third party is seeking to purchase a domain name which includes a registered trademark. If you receive such a notice, feel free to discard it or check with your attorney.

The other scam is from private companies which have similar names to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  These companies surf the USPTO for trademarks that have recently been filed and then send a letter to the applicant directly.  The companies purport to offer required services to continue the registration process of a trademark for a fee.  If you have an attorney assisting with your trademark filings, any correspondence relative to the trademark application will come from your attorney’s office on letterhead.  If you file your own applications, generally you are not in need of these services.

If you need assistance with a trademark application, seek the advice of an attorney knowledgeable in trademark practice.

Don’t be misled into bogus notices – if you ever have a question, please call for advice.

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