Watch Out for Fake Patent and Trademark Solicitations!
Watch Out for Fake Patent and Trademark Solicitations!

Scam solicitations involving intellectual property notices have plagued trademark and patent owners for many years. As technology and scammer sophistication improve, these schemes are becoming more prevalent and confusing, and a growing international problem. Currently the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is tracking over 50 such scams originating in the U.S. and dozen overseas. Staying vigilant is the best protection.

Typically, these fraudulent solicitations target owners of U.S. registrations and patents. They often provide misleading deadline information, promise to take required actions at exorbitant fees, and/or trick IP owners into paying for useless services.

Case in point, a Latvian citizen was recently sentenced to more than four years in federal prison and ordered to pay over $4.5 million in restitution after pleading guilty to mail fraud in a multi-million-dollar scheme to defraud owners of U.S. trademark registrations. The scheme, announced by the U.S. Department of Justice on September 15, 2021, revolved around Viktors Suhorukovs who established and operated Patent and Trademark Office, LLC, registered in the District of Columbia, and Patent and Trademark Bureau, LLC, registered in New York. These entity names gave U.S. trademark registration owners the false impression that they were, in fact, receiving notices from the USPTO. Through his efforts, Sugorukovs was able to scam more than 2,900 U.S. trademark registrants out of millions of dollars for fake, renewal fees. Unfortunately, this is one of many schemes by domestic and foreign entities that confuse and defraud U.S. IP owners.

An example of one of these fake solicitations is provided below.

In order to avoid being misled by one of these scammers, IP owners should keep in mind the following:

  • If you are represented by an attorney at the USPTO or in any foreign jurisdiction, notices should be reported to you by your IP attorney.
  • If for some reason you DO receive official correspondence about your IP, it will be from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, Virginia, and all emails will be from the domain “”
  • Read all notices carefully. Do not be fooled by company names that sound like government agencies or offers that contain publicly available government data, or refer to U.S. laws and regulations. Many scammers will use company names that may include terms like “United States,” “U.S.,” “Trademark,” “Patent,” “Registration,” “Office,” or “Agency.” Some offers and notices may include official government data publicly available from USPTO records, or refer to other government agencies and sections of the U.S. Code.
  • The USPTO will never ask for your credit card number or social security card over the telephone. If you are represented by an attorney, fees and action will be taken by your attorney who will invoice you or your company for those services.

In summary, if you receive a solicitation, be aware and check with your attorney who can confirm the notice legitimacy in just a few minutes. You can also check the USPTO’s Scam Awareness page which offers helpful links to scam alert information.



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