One of the many benefits of a federal trademark registration is that it can serve as a basis for obtaining registrations in foreign countries. Unfortunately, a federal trademark registration can also make you a target for foreign scammers. Foreign scammers use information from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO's) database to send trademark solicitations.
Within a matter of days of receiving a federal trademark registration for our TRUST TREE brand name, we received an official-looking invoice from the International Patent & Trademark Organization (IPTO) for $2,225:
What is the IPTO? 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 IPTO is located in the Czech Republic.
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 the IPTO 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
- EPTR Trademark Register
- International Patent and Trademark Service (IPTS)
- World Patent & Trademark Service (WPTS)
- World Patents Trademarks (WIPT)
- International Patent & Trademark Index (IPTI)
Have a question about an invoice that you received for trademark services? Sign up for a free attorney consultation on our home page.