One of the many benefits of a federal trademark application is that it can serve as a basis for obtaining priority and registrations in foreign countries. Unfortunately, a federal trademark application can also make you a target for foreign scams. Foreign scammers not associated with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) often use trademark information from the USPTO’s database to send solicitations.
Recently, one of our clients received official-looking invoices totaling $4,380 from the EPTR Trademark Register. Here's one of the invoices with our client's info redacted:
What is the EPTR Trademark Register? It is not a government agency. The U.S. trademark system is administered by the USPTO, which is located in Alexandria, Virginia. The international trademark system is administered by the Word Intellectual Property Organization, which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The EPTR Trademark Register is located in Koszalin, Poland.
What do you get for your money? A one-year "registration" in a private registry that has absolutely no legal significance. This assumes, of course, that this company actually does anything other than take your money.
So how do you avoid getting duped? You should check the USPTO’s list of known scammers before paying any suspicious looking invoices. Please also review our warnings about the following scammers:
- RPT Servis
- International Patent & Trademark Organization (IPTO)
- International Patent and Trademark Service (IPTS)
- World Patent & Trademark Service (WPTS)
- World Patents Trademarks (WIPT)
- International Patent & Trademark Index (IPTI)
Unfortunately, the scammers stay one step ahead of the USPTO by changing names frequently. Notably, the EPTR Trademark Register does not appear on this list. That's one of the reasons why it helps to have a trademark lawyer who can help you avoid these scams by reviewing any solicitations that you receive.
Have a question about an invoice that you received for trademark services? Fill out the contact form on our home page for a free attorney consultation.