If you have any federally-registered trademarks, you may have seen this. I’ve got a few trademarks, including the name of my practice. I just got this very official looking notice today.
Looks official and important enough, just on the envelope, eh?
Inside I find this:
That REALLY looks official. And, gosh… I don’t want my trademark to expire. But, then I don’t recall that I have to pay again and again. I smell a scam. So, I started reading the fine print.
Hmmmmm…. and this buried on the back side:
Here’s the full view of the back side. Think many people are going to read this?
It also says, “This offer is not being made by an agency of the government.”
Doze meezerable cork-sucking bastiges!
Upon further investigation, I learned that these disclaimers are legally required. But,obviously, they can be buried in an avalanche of text that many people probably won’t read. And, that’s the scam. I bet a lot of these get paid, no questions asked. They may not even make it past the office manager’s desk or get paid by “accounting” in some companies. The actual Trademark Office has a warning about these scams. And, this particular company has been referenced at this scam complaint website.
Registered trademarks are public domain information. So, anyone could download thousands or even millions of trademarks and send them solicitations like this. What this company REALLY does (supposedly) is MONITOR your trademark for infringements. Then they notify you. Gee whiz… thanks! But, they even have a disclaimer for THAT. On the back side of the mailing, there is a clause that states they do not guarantee performance.
Look out for #1.
The bottom line: Be careful. There are lots of “official”-looking “bills” that come into businesses. Many are probably paid automatically without close examination. It wouldn’t take many suckers paying $375 each for this scam operation to make some serious dough.
Oh… one more thing, there is some small print on the back of the “bill” that says you agree to not sue them. Peachy! A good Dental Warrior is always on alert. Trust your instincts. If it smells funny, it probably is.