Sham solicitations from companies fraudulently promising to protect trademarks (that is, falsely promising to apply for registration, or to maintain or renew existing registrations —often for exorbitant fees—or registering marks on registries having no legal or commercial benefit) have resulted in many defrauded victims.

The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), in conjunction with other Federal agencies, has undertaken noteworthy efforts to address the problem. The Commissioner for Trademarks, Mary Boney Denison, posted a blog entry today (December 21, 2016) on the USPTO’s website, explaining the Agency’s efforts to combat fraudulent trademark solicitations. Click here to read the blog.

Unfortunately, while the USPTO’s efforts are laudable, they cannot reach everyone. If you or your company receives a solicitation from a company previously unknown to you offering to apply for a trademark registration, or to maintain or renew an existing registration, or to register your mark on a registry you have never heard of, either throw the solicitation away or send a copy to your normal trademark counsel for verification. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.