Should I List My Trademark Application in a Directory?

Trademark application clients often receive solicitations in the mail from companies that want to list or monitor their trademark for them. These companies are able to farm client data from the public database of application information that is maintained by the US Trademark Office (USPTO). Unfortunately, some unscrupulous companies will use this data in an attempt to game trademark applicants into paying unnecessary fees for unneeded services.

Trademark Application Clients Receive Deceptive Solicitations

Trademark Application listing in international register

An Expensive Solicitation

Recently, a client of mine received one of these solicitations from a company identified as TM-Collection.

This unrequested solicitation led to several questions:

  1. Did the attorney for applicant receive a copy of this?
  2. Does this mean we have our trademark registration?
  3. What does this fee cover?
  4. Do I have to pay this? Client Comment: It seems to just be a fee to list our trademark in their publication

According to Kelvin Davis with Greymouse Education, this letter from TM-Collection is a scam by Gabor Nemeth, which may not even be a real name.

Mr. Davis outlines in detail in his article TM Collection SCAM how this letter is often repeated in order to try to get the unsuspecting trademark applicant to send money unnecessarily. Previously, I highly recommend reading this article to make yourself aware of how some of these solicitations will work to trick you into thinking they are legitimate. However, Mr. Davis has removed his website and the letter since this post was originally written.

Answers to Questions Above

  1. No, the attorney did not receive a copy of the TM-Collection letter. Since the trademark application at issue was still pending, this is sure evidence that the letter is a solicitation. During pendency of a trademark application, the official government agency will only communicate with the applicant’s attorney.
  2. No. The unsolicited communication from TM-Collection came before the allowance and registration of the mark. A pending trademark application and all of it’s data is public record. This includes the applicant’s address, phone number and other information. Therefore, it is not difficult for a party like TM-Collection to collect mailing information about the application and send them a letter.
  3. A listing service??? The fee charged by a solicitation that is not wanted will cover services or products that are being offered to you, if it is not just a scam to take your money. Best I can tell, TM-Collection is asking $1650 to list a trademark in a book. WOW, that is a lot of money to be in a list. Not to mention, your trademark is already listed in the USPTO database, forever. Sometimes, you might receive an unwanted solicitation that offers valid services such as trademark monitoring and policing. However, you should compare these services, understand what you are getting, and make an informed decision. You should never engage in previously unwanted services without understanding the basic questions discussed below of what, who, why and where.
  4. No. You do not have to pay to have your trademark listed anywhere when you filed a trademark application. The U.S. government maintains a database and public record of all United States filed trademark registrations and applications that is referenced by people around the world who are searching for trademarks.

Bottom Line

Do not take steps without answering the questions, What, Who, Why and Where. Learn more about how to ask these trademark registration questions and avoid scams. If you go it alone in registering a trademark, be extra careful, ask lots of questions, and understand each step of the process.  A trademark application is important for your brand, but your should not have to spend more money than necessary to protect it.

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