You file a trademark application for your business. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office registers your trademark. Shortly after you receive your certificate of registration you receive a sort-of official looking letter from some organization offering to register your trademark “internationally” for a hefty fee. This organization has some combination of words including “international”, “trademark”, “organization”, “service” or “register.” What do you do?
It is likely a scam. There is no “international trademark registry” (or register). Any trademark that you submit to such a service will likely be placed on a website no one visits or in a book no one reads. It will not serve as any official record or provide any value to you (although it may be quite valuable to the scammers).
Any official communications from the United States Patent and Trademark Office will have a return address from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, VA or come from a uspto.gov email address. If an attorney filed your trademark, the USPTO will only send communications to the attorney of record. It does not contact trademark owners directly if they have representation.
Fortunately, both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have been addressing trademark scams. The operators of the “Trademark Compliance Center” and the “Trademark Compliance Office” were recently convicted of money laundering and fraud for duping unsuspecting trademark owners out of over $1 million.
If you have any questions about trademark registrations, please contact us.