If you have filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, there is a good chance that you will be targeted as part of some scam. It is, unfortunately, pretty common for applicants to receive fake bills in the mail after filing. One such company sending out these scam invoices is WTP. As you can see above, this scam is really swinging for the fences, asking for $1,420 for its “service.” In this post, I will explain what the WTP trademark service actually consists of, and why you want to carefully avoid these scams.
How Do These Scams Work?
These mailings are so common and work simply because of access to information. The USPTO website provides a ton of public information. This information is required as part of your trademark application, and is easily accessible online. Your application must list a mailing address, for example. Also, your application will show your trademark, application serial number, and the date that you filed the application. The WTP trademark service used this information to send an invoice to my client’s address. That invoice had several pieces of information about my client’s trademark application. If you didn’t realize that this information is all available online, you might think that this a credible document. It looks very official, too. However, this information is all easily accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.
What Is the WTP Trademark Service?
The WTP trademark service, like many of these scams, is a private “register” for trademarks. Essentially, it is a private database where you can claim ownership of a trademark for other people to see. But that is basically what the USPTO does, as well. And with a registration at the USPTO, you get actual rights and protections for your trademark. This is where people search for and register their trademarks in the U.S., so why bother with a private register? There is no real reason to bother with a private register. It’s just a way for scammers to take advantage of applicants that mistakenly believe these are legitimate mailings and pay the outrageous fees.
How Can I Avoid Scams Like This?
You have to provide the USPTO with a mailing address. Because of that requirement, you cannot stop scammers from mailing you junk like what my client received above. However, there are a few things of which to be aware. First, do not pay any bill that you receive through the mail (except for your attorney, of course) related to your trademark application. If you filed your application yourself, then you know that you paid the filing fee online through the USPTO website. Any future costs related to your application will be paid in the same way. Also, if you filed yourself, then you provided the USPTO with an email address to reach you if there are issues with your application. Finally, if you hired an attorney then chances are that they will be paying any government fees on your behalf as part of the fee that you paid them.
Having an attorney takes all of the guesswork out of this because you have a professional you can ask if you receive any unexpected mailings. Also, your attorney will communicate to you any issues that the Trademark Office may have with your application. This can help you avoid confusion about payments that you need to make. You certainly do not want to accidentally pay for something like the WTP trademark service.
Unsure Whether Something You Received Is Legitimate?
If you have received something you’re not sure about, I can certainly take a look for you. If I can save you $1,420 in just a minute I’m happy to do so free of charge. Please feel free to call me at (314) 479-3668, 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.