There are many companies soliciting trademark owners for money. They obtain information about your trademarks from the various different databases and then send solicitations and offers appearing to be government entities. Most of these are fraudulent solicitations and should be discarded. If you receive any solicitations requesting the payment of money from anyone other than this office, it can be discarded.
The situation has gotten so extreme that the USPTO is sending out notices with Certificates of Registration just to let trademark owners know that this problem is pervasive. – USPTO Warning Notice and is including the following on its Trademarks home page: “WARNING: NON-USPTO SOLICITATIONS MAY RESEMBLE OFFICIAL USPTO COMMUNICATIONS:. Be aware that private companies not associated with the USPTO often use trademark application and registration information from the USPTO’s databases to mail or e-mail trademark-related solicitations.”
The problem of fraudulent solicitations has become so prevalent, that the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks publishes the following cautionary notice on its website:
On several occasions, the attention of the International Bureau has been drawn to the fact that certain organizations are sending letters to the owners of international registrations, inviting them to register their marks in publications which appear to be of an official nature. The International Bureau warns the owners of international registrations and their agents that such a publication has absolutely no legal effect in regard to the protection of the said marks and is therefore unnecessary. As this problem has become more pervasive, WIPO has published an Information Notice warning. Further information from WIPO International Registrants to ignore these unsolicited communications and provide a webpage of further examples of these solicitations.
For the most recent examples, see:
- United States Trademark Maintenance Service
- Patent and Trademark Agency
- TM-Edition – International Catalogue of Trademarks
- WIPT – Register of International Patents and Trademarks
- WDTP – Worldwide Database of Trademarks and Patents
- Universal Patents and Trademark Service – International Renewals
For some older examples, see the links below.
- Company for Publications and Information
- iSupport.net Domain Name Solicitation
- United States Trademark Protection Agency
- Internet Trademark Registry
- International Data Medium Registration (Version 1)
- International Data Medium Registration (Version 2)
- Media:net:com Fraudulent Trademark Service
- Patent Trademark Register – Register of International Patents
- Register of International Patents and Trademarks (Version 1)
- Register of International Patents and Trademarks (Version 2)
- Trademark Monitoring Service
- United States Trademark Renewal Service
- United States Trademark Service
- World Intellectual Property Database
- GBO Inc. – GTM Catalog – the global Trademark and Servicemark Selection of the USA catalog
- United States Trademark Registration Office
There are many “trollers” out there that are looking for business. We see messages claiming that there is some company trying to register your trademark as domains or keywords in foreign countries and stating that they are: i) grabbing your domain name & internet keyword and sell back to you in the future; or, ii) that they are employing a “commercial method” by a competitor to register and cause customer confusion. I do not recall a single situation that has amounted to anything.
The basic rule is that every business should register as many domains as they can that are related to their business and the trademarks they use. It is cheaper to register them upfront than dealing with a future infringement.
Generally speaking, you should also check to see if .co, .net, .info, .org, .me, .mobi, .us, .ca are all available. They should immediately be registered and pointed to your main/primary domain.
There are all of the international domains and the country code suffixes as well. However, many of those, in order to get a domain name, you have to have a bona fide business establishment within the country. Our typical recommendation for client’s doing business internationally is to focus on the countries that you do business in, and the countries where products are made or services are delivered/rendered. This is often a good starting point.