Trademark Owners Beware…Of Unofficial Trademark Registers and Domain Name Solicitations from China and Hong Kong

If you haven’t received a communication from an unofficial trademark “register” that looks like an invoice, chances are you will receive one in the near future. Companies such as the Intellectual Property Agency Ltd., World Patent and Trademark Index, TM Worldwide and Official Registration, Inc., send out notices, often bearing a logo that looks like an official governmental shield, to trademark owners when they file applications to register their marks with official trademark registrars like the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Community Trademark Office (formally known as the Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market or OHIM) or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and/or when their trademarks have been approved and published for opposition purposes in official trademark journals and gazettes published by the latter trademark agencies. The notices typically state that by paying a fee, oftentimes $900 or more, the unofficial trademark registrar will enter the trademark owner’s mark in official sounding publications and “registers.” For example, Official Registration, Inc. of California offers to print a trademark, the goods and services associated with the mark, and the alleged owner’s contact information in its “TM REGISTER/ The International Trade Marks and Service Marks” catalog for $950. The publication will supposedly be available in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia and printed publications will be shipped in March 2011. Official Registration, Inc. recommends that trademark owners take advantage of its registration offer because it will provide notice to others that a particular trademark is already taken.

Please see full advisory below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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