A World of Patent Information for Entrepreneurs

The Third Party Solicitation Scam

If you have filed a trademark application in the last few years, you may have gotten some odd, official looking mail. There is often a request for payment for the purposes of “registering” your trademark or executing some other administrative task. It might look like a communication from the US Patent & Trademark Office, but it is nothing of the sort.  It’s a scam!

If you look at the solicitation letters very closely, they will generally state in the fine print that the fees are for nothing, and they are not part of any government service. Because all trademark applicant correspondence information goes into the public record, it’s very easy for scammers to mine the data and send mass solicitations to individual applicants requesting payment of “fees” for phony services.

The USPTO has a page regarding third party solicitations, along with some examples. Note that the example documents have come from very official sounding names, like “Patent & Trademark Agency” and “U.S. Trademark Compliance Service.”

We have noticed similar scams with PCT applications. Again, it’s possible to mine PCT application data for inventor/applicant contact information and send solicitations directly to them, bypassing attorneys — who generally know better than to

These solicitations are like a phishing scam that use regular snail mail. Like any phishing scam, it only takes a small percentage of recipients to pay to make the operation profitable. Don’t be fooled!

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