Readers should be aware that fraudsters continue to target trademark and patent applicants with solicitations that purport to be from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or other official regulatory bodies. As new scams continue to surface, it is important to remain vigilant.
The most recent fraudulent trademark solicitation targets international trademarks. The company, Worldwide Database of Trademarks and Patents (WDTP), requests payment of a filing fee for the registration of an international trademark in its Internet database. The official looking communication references the registrant’s trademark, registration number, and registration date. An example of the fraudulent solicitation can be found here.
Unfortunately, theses scams can take many different forms. They often include offers: (1) for legal services; (2) for trademark monitoring services; (3) to record trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and (4) to “register” trademarks in the company’s own private registry.
As highlighted by the USPTO, these solicitations increasingly mimic the look of official government documents. For instance, they may include official government data like the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Class(es), filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records. They may also cite to other government agencies and sections of the U.S. Code.
If you receive any document that references your intellectual property and requests the payment of a fee, it is imperative to conduct due diligence before sending any money. The bottom-line is that if the communication did not come from the USPTO or your attorney, it is most likely fraudulent.