Close X

Welcome to our LEGAL BLOG

Beware of Trademark Scams: A Guide for New Applicants

Posted by Dragan Dan Ivetić | May 09, 2024 | 0 Comments

A hooded hacker in front of a laptop (labelled SCAM) impersonating the USPTO
Can you spot a Trademark Scam before it is too late?

Beware of Trademark Scams: A Guide for New Applicants

For first-time trademark applicants and those unrepresented by counsel, the world of trademarks can be a complex and daunting process, especially for small business owners eager to protect their brands. What's equally challenging, and perhaps more insidious, is the prevalence of trademark scams and third parties offering misleading and unnecessary services for a fee, all of whom are targeting these very individuals during their trademark application process. In this blog article, we aim to shed light on how these scams operate, what you can do to spot them, and the steps to take to protect your hard-earned money and intellectual property.

What are Trademark Scams?

Trademark scams are fraudulent and deceptive tactics used by individuals or companies to take advantage of trademark applicants, typically during the application process. These scams often come in the form of unsolicited communications, such as emails or physical mail, and may appear to be official government documents or invoices for necessary services related to your trademark application. However, they are often unnecessary, overpriced, or outright fake services that offer little to no value in protecting your trademark rights. The persons behind such scams have gotten so good, that their mailings or phone calls may seem like official and legitimate notices from the USPTO Trademark Office. Every year, many unwary small business owners fall prey to their schemes, either purchasing unnecessary additional services (such as registration in private directories) or outright sending their money for illusory and false promises.

Understanding the Landscape

When you file a trademark application in the United States, your application details (including your contact details) enter the public domain through the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) database. While this transparency serves a legal purpose, it also opens the door to entities with both legitimate and illegitimate intentions, who monitor new filings and use the information for their own private purposes.

How do they operate?

One of the most common tactics these scammers use is sending official-looking notices or invoices that appear to be from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These may include a request for additional filing fees. They will often pose a threat of urgency, namely that the opening application will be canceled if the money sought is not paid immediately. As a trademark owner or applicant, it is important to know that the USPTO does not send unsolicited emails or physical mail requesting payment for trademark registration or other services. Any official fees for your trademark application will be clearly outlined on the USPTO's website and can only be paid through their secure online system. Similarly, if you have a trademark attorney representing you and filing your paperwork for you, the USPTO will almost always contact the attorney instead of you directly.

How to spot them?

There are a few key red flags to look out for when trying to identify trademark scams. One of the most obvious is requests for payment that do not align with official USPTO fees. If you receive a notice or invoice for an amount that seems too high, be sure to verify the fee schedule on the USPTO website. Similarly, if you are contacted by someone claiming to represent the USPTO but are not using an official email address from the organization, it is likely a scam. Another tell-tale sign is poor grammar and spelling in their correspondence - official notices from the USPTO are always professionally written and edited.

Recognizing the Threats

  1. False Pretenses: One of the most common scams involves companies reaching out to trademark applicants, masquerading as the USPTO. These correspondences can appear quite official, often designed to mimic real communications from the USPTO, and may solicit fees purportedly related to your trademark application.
  2. Unnecessary Services: Another tactic involves companies offering services that are either unnecessary or that could easily be done by the applicants themselves, sometimes at no cost. These services range from international trademark registration to listings in unofficial—and largely pointless—directories.

How to Protect Yourself

  1. Verify Communications: Always verify the source of any correspondence related to your trademark application. Remember, official communications from the USPTO will come from email addresses ending in “” or through the USPS if mailed. Email scams might closely mimic this address (for instance "" etc.), so pay close attention. Dealing with phone calls requires even more vigilance. Some of the most recently reported scams (ie. so far in 2024) involve scammers spoofing USPTO caller ID and phone numbers. It should be known that, as a general rule, the USPTO examiner will be more likely to contact you via email, and rarely if ever by telephone. Thus, any and all telephone calls or solicitations claiming to originate from the USPTO should be treated as suspect.
  1. Consult Your Trademark Attorney: If you've engaged a trademark attorney for your application—which is highly recommended—any official communication from the USPTO will typically be directed to your attorney. If you receive any suspicious letters or emails, forward them to your attorney for verification. Most attorneys (like our office) will offer flat fee pricing plans for trademark registration. In those circumstances, all communications with your attorney are at no additional fee. Thus, there is no reason to be hesitant to ask your attorney to verify any official-looking solicitation before taking any action.
  1. Educate Yourself About Known Scams: The USPTO website lists known misleading notices and scam artists. Familiarize yourself with these to recognize potential scams (USPTO Caution on Misleading Notices, USPTO Protect Page). Believe it or not, these bad actors often use the exact same name, exact same format, or exact same addresses. So, if you ever receive a solicitation, do a search of the names listed on the USPTO website at the above links, to see if that is one of the bad actors implicated in the USPTO info pages.
  1. Never Make Payments Without Verification: Regardless of how official any notice may seem, never send money without first confirming the legitimacy of the request. This applies particularly to any solicitations claiming to be from the USPTO or an affiliate. More importantly, the USPTO only accepts payments via their portal, so be weary any solicitation directing that you send funds via any other means or to any other location.
  1. Another very good resource offered by the USPTO itself is an informative (though longer) informational video detailing what you can do to protect yourselves from these and other trademark scams.

Vigilance Is Key

In our digital age, scams are increasingly sophisticated and can catch even the more vigilant among us off guard. Whether you are a new trademark applicant, a small business owner, or someone advising them, staying informed about the various tactics scammers use and the best practices for safeguarding your intellectual property is crucial.

At our law firm, we are committed to guiding our clients through the complexities of trademark law and helping them identify and sidestep potential scams. We believe that an informed client is an empowered one. Should you suspect you've received a scam communication or have questions about the legitimacy of a trademark-related notice, we encourage you to seek expert legal advice.

Protecting your brand extends beyond the trademark application process itself; it involves being proactive about potential threats and having the right team by your side to navigate these challenges. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and remember that we're here to help secure and protect your business's invaluable assets. So, always be cautious and verify the legitimacy of any request or communication before taking any action. Your brand and business deserve nothing less.


In conclusion, staying vigilant and informed is crucial in protecting your business's intellectual property and avoiding falling victim to scams. As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Don't hesitate to contact our office before or after you file a trademark application to see what services and assistance we can offer you. Remember, the initial consultation is always free of charge! So don't hesitate to call us today.

Contact us!
Contact us for a Free Consultation on your Trademark legal matter!

About the Author

Dragan Dan Ivetić

DRAGAN DAN IVETIĆ was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, and wanted to become an attorney to help people from a young age.  He received a bachelor's d...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Dragan Ivetic, Attorney at Law, LLC Is Here for You

Dragan Ivetic, Attorney at Law, LLC, is here to listen to you and help you navigate the legal system.

Contact Us Today

We offer consultations and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Get in Touch

161 N. Clark St., Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60601

Tel.: +1 (312) 216-5167
Fax: +1 (312) 815-2128

Tel.: +31 (70) 870-0201
Fax: +31 (84) 839-8625

[email protected]