Beware of scams involving trademark renewal solicitations

Q&A with Mike LaBrie

published in The Oklahoman | August 24, 2017

Nearly every business or organization has at least one trademark registration, and those trademarks must be renewed periodically in order for the owner’s intellectual property rights in them to stay in effect. Unfortunately, there’s an increasing number of unscrupulous companies that try to cash in on the renewal process by duping trademark owners into paying unnecessary fees through deceptive marketing practices.

In a Business Q&A with The Oklahoman, intellectual property attorney Mike LaBrie explained how the deceptive mailings work, the types of services offered in the solicitations, and what trademark owners should do to avoid being scammed.

“At best, the company offering the services will provide the service — often at an inflated price — and sometimes replace the trademark owner’s attorney with the soliciting company as the trademark owner’s representative at the USPTO,” said LaBrie. “At worst, the company will take the money and provide no services, incorrectly provide the services and botch the renewal, or provide unnecessary services such as publication in a worthless online catalog.”

LaBrie’s best advice to trademark owners is to be skeptical of third-party correspondence relating to trademarks and other intellectual property, especially those that include invoices for services, even if they look official and legitimate. And when in doubt, contact your contact your intellectual property legal counsel.