Trademark owners face an unrelenting torrent of scams. Once your trademark application is filed, there is a good chance that you will receive a fake invoice or some other mailing that tries to sell you services that you do not need. Since trademark applications filed at the USPTO contain contact information, it is a good place for scammers to find victims. Recently, I’ve been contacted by multiple clients regarding the same scam company, which is usually the point at which I make a blog post like this one to warn others.
What Does the Pinnacle Trademark Scam Look Like?
First, if you’re viewing this post, it is likely because you received an email from a “case filing officer” at Pinnacle Trademark. It probably looks a lot like the one that my client received here:
Why Is Pinnacle Trademark Contacting Me?
Contrary to what the email above says, my clients that were contacted by Pinnacle Trademark never “signed up” for anything with them. They had never even heard of Pinnacle Trademark. So from the second sentence of the email above, Pinnacle is already misleading. This is likely because it claims to be a law firm, and attorneys are governed by strict rules when it comes to soliciting new clients.
The language used in this email is so aggressive and made to sound so urgent that one client actually believed this email was a cease and desist letter! I do not blame them, since the email is designed to scare the reader into taking action, and “within the next 24 hours,” too.
The purpose of this email is to let the recipient know that a federal trademark application has been filed with the USPTO for a name that is the same or similar to the recipient’s trademark. Why would I consider that to be a problem, instead of a free service? Because the content of the email is completely misleading and misstates vital information about trademark law in order to try and scare people into using this questionable service.
How Is This Trademark Solicitation Misleading?
As mentioned above, this email starts off as misleading in the second sentence: it claims to be “following up” on something you previously signed up for, but most likely did not.
Next, the email says that someone else has filed an application for a similar trademark, “but if we move forward with his application and he gets the federal ownership and protection for this mark/name then you’ll be required to cease all use of this name in accordance with trademark law.” There’s a lot to unpack here:
First, this makes it sound like if you do not act that the other application will be filed. In fact, the other application has already been filed, which is how they knew to contact you about it. Also, the “if we move forward” makes it sound like Pinnacle Trademark is also representing the other party. Aside from the obvious conflict of interest this would cause (a complete ethical disaster), they are making it seem like you need to hire them now so that they do not first file a competing application for their other client. In reality, they do not represent the other party, who has already filed an application. Finally, another party filing an application for a trademark before you, and even successfully registering that trademark, does not necessarily mean that you must cease all use of your trademark, even if the trademarks are identical. There is simply more nuance to the law than that.
Finally, the phrase “…it is mandatory to register your mark to hold the ownership rights federally” is extremely misleading. While this is a true statement, it is worded to make you think that you have to have a federal registration for your trademark, which is not true. You do not have to register your trademark to have rights to it at all.
Is Pinnacle Trademark a Trustworthy Company?
You might be asking, misleading wording aside, isn’t Pinnacle providing a service of sorts? They are letting trademark owners know about potential issues with other companies filing trademarks at the USPTO. That is true: you may have a legitimate trademark infringement issue brought to your attention by one of these emails. However, would you want to hire a company that is so shady that they use these manipulation tactics? My guess is that the answer is “no.”
Don’t just take my word for it. Check out Pinnacle Trademark reviews on Trustpilot. As of the writing of this post (4/28/2023), they have a 3.2 out of 5 score, which is made up almost exclusively of 1-star and 5-star reviews (most of which do not appear to me to have been written by actual customers). The first page of reviews when I looked contained 18 uses of the word “scam.”
Have You Received a Pinnacle Trademark Scam Email?
If you have received an email like the one above, you may want to look into the application that was filed. If your trademark is very similar, there could be an infringement issue you would want to know about. I would be happy to assist you in understanding your actual rights and options, not trying to scare you into filing an application. Please feel free to call me at (480) 360-3499, email me at email@example.com, or complete the contact form found on this page to schedule your free initial consultation today. I look forward to speaking with you.