IP Industry Cracking Down on Scammers

Trademark and patent holders are frequently targeted by scams, often in the form of official-looking correspondence. Some companies promise to protect your patent in foreign countries, while others claims that you have an unpaid invoice for trademark registration services.

Many of the mailings are misleading because they use language, formatting and other identifying features that suggest the sender is an official government agency. I frequently field calls from concerned clients who have received unsolicited offers for patent and trademark services.  My standard advice is if someone requests money and it is not from my firm, it is probably a scam.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other industry groups frequently issue warnings about these fraudulent solicitations; however, new scams seem to pop up every few months. To put these companies out of business for good, a New York intellectual property law firm is pursuing legal action in federal court.

The suit against Patent & Trademark Agency LLC and its principal owner, Armens Organesjans, alleges that the company seeks to confuse trademark owners into purchasing services under the false color of authority. The claims include unfair competition, false advertising and tortious interference with prospective economic relations.

As highlighted in the complaint, Patent & Trademark Agency LLC’s website includes a statement that they are not lawyers and do not provide legal advice; however, its Terms, Conditions and Use Agreement state the opposite: “By accepting these terms you specifically and irrevocably authorize [Patent & Trademark Agency] to conduct negotiations and act on your behalf with any party needed in order to renew or register your trademark.”

The complaint further alleges that the company falsely states that “the Patent & Trademark Agency is the nation’s premier trademark registration and renewal service.” In reality, the USPTO lists the company among entities that have been the subject of complaints regarding fraudulent solicitations.

Last year, the same New York IP firm sued USA Trademark Enterprises Inc. on similar grounds. As a result of the lawsuit, the company was permanently barred from engaging in intellectual property-related activities in the United States.

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