Categories: FAQs And Resources

Blog ➥ Category

Published April 5, 2024

Catherine Cavella, ESQ.

We’ve noticed an unsettling trend that’s been making the rounds among business owners and entrepreneurs. Imagine this: you’re sipping your morning coffee, scrolling through emails, and suddenly, you find a message claiming that someone else is attempting to register your business name. Your heart skips a beat. How concerned should you be? Well, let’s break it down together.

 

Is It a Scam? How to Tell

Recently, we’ve noticed a spike in calls from clients alarmed by emails from certain IP law firms. These emails claim that someone is trying to register a trademark like theirs and, out of “courtesy,” they’re being given a chance to object or secure their trademark rights. Some of these messages even misquote laws, suggesting it’s mandatory to register your mark federally to own it. Spoiler alert: that’s not how it works.

 

Here’s the scoop: it’s highly unethical for an attorney to contact you in this manner. If someone approaches us wanting to register a trademark, and we find a similar, unregistered mark already in use, we must advise our client on their options. We would never reach out to the owner of the unregistered mark to tip them off. That would be a glaring conflict of interest against the professional conduct rules in almost every state.

 

So, if you receive an email like this, it’s almost certainly a scam — preying on your fear to get you to act hastily.

 

What Should You Do?

While your first instinct might be to ignore such spam, when it comes to trademarks, inaction can sometimes be interpreted as non-enforcement, potentially weakening your claim to your mark. If you’re concerned, the best action is to consult a reputable intellectual property attorney. They can help you craft a response that aligns with your trademark strategy and protects your interests.

 

Preventing Future Issues

To avoid this kind of scare in the future, consider registering your trademark. It’s a straightforward process that offers you more robust legal standing and peace of mind. While these scam attempts are generally harmless if you’re savvy to them, not having your trademark registered leaves you vulnerable to legitimate legal challenges, including cease and desist letters that could force you to rebrand.

 

Still, Have Questions?

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re uneasy or want to know more about protecting your business’s intellectual property. Whether it’s a quick call or an email, we’re here to help you navigate these waters and ensure your business remains secure and thriving.

 

Remember, in the world of business, knowledge is your best defense. Stay informed, stay skeptical of too-good-to-be-true “courtesies,” and when in doubt, seek professional advice. Your brand reflects your hard work and vision—protecting it isn’t just brilliant; it’s essential.

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Since 1992, Catherine Cavella, Esq. Her focus on Trademark Law and Copyright Law for the last few decades gives her deep insights into the fundamental principles behind the rules. Catherine regularly writes about new developments in trademark law, copyright law, and internet law.