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By Richard Gearhart
Founding Partner

We often get questions from our trademark clients at Gearhart Law about letters they receive in the mail or emails indicating that they owe money for something related to their trademark.  They ask us if they need to pay it. Our response?  IGNORE IT UNLESS IT COMES FROM GEARHART LAW and/or USPTO!  There are a lot of scammers out there who prey on business owners when it comes to their trademarks.  This applies to both US Trademarks and Trademarks filed outside the US.

How do you know if the correspondence comes from the USPTO?  A letter will come from the USPTO’s Alexandria, Virginia, address.  An email will come from the extension

If it comes from anywhere else, it’s not official and you can ignore it.  Some scammers use the words “United States” “US” “office” or “agency” in their name and/or letterhead.  They are skilled at making the scam look official.

If you are a Gearhart Law client, the correspondence from the USPTO or foreign agent will be sent to us and we will forward it to you after our review, usually with recommendations on next steps.

An advantage to using a professional law firm versus doing the application yourself is that we can help protect you from scams.  We are aware of people who filed their own mark and unknowingly paid more to scammers than would have paid had they hired a law firm in the first place.

How do the scammers know about your trademark?  When you apply for your trademark, your address and email address become part of the public record.  Scammers comb the trademark database and can find that, along with your trademark name, application serial number and registration number.  They then put these on official looking documents that they send to you to try to make you pay for things you don’t owe.  They make it look like these are required payments when they’re not.

Some are services, for instance, they’ll list your trademark in their registry for a fee, but the only registry that counts is the USPTO registry.  Some offer to provide legal services, but research the company first.  Others offer assistance, but don’t reveal their fees.

If you want more information on trademarks in general or trademark scams, you can call us for a free consultation at 908-273-0700.  If you want more info on trademark scams, you can watch this video on the USPTO website:

About the Author
Richard Gearhart, Esq. is the founder of Gearhart Law and the host of a weekly radio show for entrepreneurs called “Passage to Profit”. He has built a firm with an international presence that helps entrepreneurs from around the world with their patent, trademark and copyright needs. Richard commands a breadth of experience that comes from nearly 30 years of practice in the writing and prosecution of hundreds of patents, and in all aspects of Intellectual Property law. In 2022, Richard was recognized by ROI New Jersey as a 2022 ROI Influencer in the Law List category for being one of the best of the best in New Jersey for intellectual property law. Gearhart Law emerged from Richard’s passion for entrepreneurship and startups and his belief that entrepreneurship grows the economy and creates jobs. When we started Gearhart Law, our goal was to help and support the new business ventures of 500 entrepreneurs and inventors. After 12 years, the firm has far surpassed this goal; today, we look forward to helping even more inventors and entrepreneurs get off to a great start and reach their own goals.