For years, many companies or entities sent unsolicited invoices and notices to trademark owners requesting payment of fees for various services including publications or listings in a register or database. Many of these solicitations are scams and these entities are either not authorized to practice in the trademark field or are misleading owners into believing that they must pay those fees in order to maintain their rights in the applications or registrations.
It appears that these scam attempts have evolved from letters or emails to now phone calls to the trademark owners. The United States Patent and Trademark office (USPTO) recently became aware and has warned users and their staff that the scammers are targeting trademark owners through calls that “spoof” USPTO’s phone numbers and posing as an USPTO employee.
How to spot a spoofed phone call: USPTO noted that they will never ask for personal information or payment information over the phone and if unsure, to hang up the phone and contact the Trademark Assistance Centre.
We recommend our clients ignore such notices, invoices or phone calls and to contact us in case of any uncertainty.