What: Trademark Office event on fraudulent and misleading solicitations sent to trademark owners by third parties.
When: The event takes place July 26, 2017 at 2-5 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time). But, if you’d like to speak at the event you’ll need to register by July 17, 2017.
Where: Via webcast (see link below); or in person at one of the USPTO’s offices, see below for locations.
Many of our readers might be wondering what ‘fraudulent solicitations’ have to do with trademarks, and why the Trademark Office is holding a public roundtable about them. Most of the fraudulent (and misleading) solicitations at issue are addressed directly to trademark owners and sometimes show up when an application is initially filed, but more often when the trademark registers or the registration is nearing a milestone date (e.g. a renewal date).
The sad and frightening thing is that the notices are formatted and worded to look remarkably ‘official’ (e.g., oftentimes copying Trademark Office insignia). Worse yet, the “notices” most often have an urgent tone and lead the trademark owner to believe that they must wire money to the listed address “NOW!!” to prevent loss of the owner’s trademark registration.
Unfortunately, we’ve had a few clients who panicked when they received one of these notices and proceeded to send substantial sums of money to the misleading and/or fraudulent companies, who often operate from overseas offices or virtual post boxes.
I myself received notices and invoices (sometimes even claiming that my “payment” was “overdue) from a bunch of such companies, and I’ve confronted some of them. The explanation always feigns innocence, claiming that the company is simply offering a valuable service to the trademark owner. In almost every case they do not offer anything of value, and in almost every case, the appearance and wording of the notice/invoice mimics an official notice from the Trademark Office.
If you’ve ever encountered one of these fraudulent or misleading solicitations, share your experience at the Trademark Office’s free public roundtable on fraudulent and misleading solicitations. The Trademark Office hopes that your input can help it better address the problem.
If you are near one of the geographic areas listed below, lucky you! You can attend in person and registration is free on a first-come, first-served basis (register to attend at this link). According to the Trademark Office, you may also register at the door starting one half-hour prior to the meeting. You can also participate via webcast.
The July 17 deadline refers to those who want to speak at the event (i.e., share your experience or concerns). If you would like to speak at the event, register by today, July 17. Requests submitted after today will be considered on a space-available basis. If you can’t attend in person, you are encouraged to email a written statement about your experience with fraudulent or misleading solicitations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The roundtable will be held July 26, 2-4 p.m. ET, at each of these locations:
- USPTO Headquarters, 600 Dulany Street, Madison Building, Alexandria, Va. 22314
- Midwest Regional Office, 300 River Place Drive, Detroit, Mich. 48207
- Rocky Mountain Regional Office, 1961 Stout Street, Denver, Colo. 80294
- Silicon Valley Regional Office, 26 S. Fourth Street, San Jose, Calif. 95113
- Texas Regional Office, 207 S. Houston Street, Dallas, Texas 75202
Remember, you can also participate via webcast! Let us know if you’re planning on participating, whether you’ve ever received one of the misleading notices/invoices and how you handled the notice- even if you just threw it in the trash! And for the month of July, we’ll be collecting stories from our readers and featuring posts on how readers selected their trademark/brand name and any ‘strange doing’s’ in their trademarking/registration journey- including misleading and/or fraudulent notices…
Many thanks to the Graphics Fairy (an enchanting company and website) for our motorcycle graphic. You can visit the Graphics Fairy website here).
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