Trademark Owners Beware of False Renewal Scams
Only Burger has graciously allowed me to share this fake trademark notice with you to make sure you don’t fall for this very sophisticated scam.
Here is the notice they received. I have highlighted some areas showing why it is a scam, but my heart raced for a moment when I saw this. I thought my trademark maintenance reminder system had failed me. I went to the Trademark Office website and searched this mark to make sure nothing was due.
1. The US trademark office does not send reminders for renewal, and if they did, it would come to me as the attorney of record. 2. The US Patent and Trademark Office is in Alexandria, Virginia and it has a “.gov” email address, not “.us”. 3. The actual registration date for this trademark is September 15, 2015. This notice shows 2014. The filing date was also moved back a year from 2015 to 2014. 4. Trademarks last for 10 years, so this one does not need to be renewed. 5. Between the 5th and 6th year of the trademark registration – which for this one would be September 22, 2020 to September 22, 2021 – the trademark owner files an affidavit of use and incontestability. This filing means your trademark can no longer be contested (i.e., ask the Trademark Office to cancel your trademark) by someone else who used a similar mark earlier in time. 6. The filing fee is $325 per class, and if you do it yourself there is no additional fee. You may incur some legal fees if your attorney files for you. I don’t charge $925. 7. Along with filing the affidavit, you must provide an additional specimen (proof of use, such as a website, picture of the business signage, menu, flyer, brochure, or other marketing material). This company cannot file your Section 8 and 15 combined affidavits without providing proof of use. Here is how to check the status of your own trademarks: 1. Go to the Trademarks section of the USPTO.gov website. 2. Click on the “Search TESS” button. (It is in the section called Search Trademark Database) 3. Click on basic word search. 4. Enter your registered trademark in the search box and make sure you are searching “Combined Word Mark”. You can also search by the trademark owner name by putting your company name in the box and in the second box, select “Owner Name and Address”. 5. Select the trademark from the results list (if needed). 6. Click on the blue TSDR button above the mark. 7. Click on the maintenance tab.
Here is the correct information for this Only Burger mark.
This scam used some correct data, such as the picture of the design that was registered, the correct serial number and registration number, name and address of the owner, and the month and day of registration. They changed the year.
Please be careful out there!!