Trademark Scams

According to this email, Trademark Compliance Office will monitor my trademark for infringing marks and register my trademark with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. All for $385!

Also, I have this bridge, which I can let you have for the very low price of $639.99.

Artashes Darbinyan, the ostensible owner of Trademark Compliance Office, was caught[1] after bilking over 4,000 people for more than $1.6 million. He didn’t actually provide any service.

He just took the money.[2]

Don’t worry though, even though Mr. Darbinyan’s been caught, there are still plenty of scammers out there.

I know because I always use my own email address when I file applications for my clients. That means I get lots and lots of email scams, including quite a few from Mr. Darbinyan.

Not all the scam letters come through email. Some come by snail mail. Here are some examples:

They look legit, don’t they?

So, what’s an applicant to do?

  1. The Trademark Office never ever asks for money in an email. All email from the Trademark Office comes from a uspto.gov address.
  1. The Trademark Office also never asks for money through snail mail. The only thing the Trademark Office sends by mail is your registration.
  1. If you want to have U.S. Customs monitor shipments for knock-offs, you can do that yourself. 
  1. Use common sense. Be skeptical. That’s good advice for life.

 

[1] Mr. Artashes was caught in a joint operation of the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Postal Service, and the IRS, with an assist by the Trademark Office.

[2] “As part of his guilty plea, Darbinyan admitted that he ran a mass-mailing scam through companies called Trademark Compliance Center (TCC) and Trademark Compliance Office (TCO).  The scam involved fraudulent offers of a service in which TCC and TCO promised to monitor an applicant’s trademark for infringing marks and to register the trademark with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) . . .. Darbinyan never registered, nor ever intended to register, any of the trademarks with CBP for the customers who paid the fee.” Department of Justice news release.

 

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