You'd better be a Small Business! We account for 99.7% of exporters in the US.
Trademark "Monitoring" Services - Beware
There's a disturbing trend happning regarding in trademark filings that has been making a lot of our clients nervous, so I feel that I should bring it to everyone's attention. As some of you may know, trademark filings are public record, meaning that once the filing has been submitted anyone can view it. As with most public filings, that's when the spam train comes to town. This happens with domain names as well; if you've ever registered a domain name, you probably got an email from some Chinese office "warning" you that someone has come to them asking to register all kinds of variations of your domain name domain.jp, domain.fm, etc. Unless you're going to be operating in foreign languages in other countries, you really don't need to worry about .jp; it's up to you, but I personally think it's kind of a rip off.
Along the same vein, the "United States Trademark Registration Office" has taken it upon themselves to solicit "trademark monitoring" services to recent applicants by sending the attached image accompanying this blog.
As you can see, this looks like an official invoice from the USPTO. The fine print on the back of the "invoice" states that this company is an independent company and not affiliated with the USPTO, but who actually reads that? In my opinion, this is deceptive.
Let me just state that I am not saying that this is a scam in the sense that this company isn't actually providing the monitoring services they are advertising. This may be the best $375 you ever spend on your trademark! But I do not appreciate the lack of transparency in this "offer" for services, especially since this letter is being sent to the owner of the mark (usually not a lawyer) and not the Attorney of Record (always a lawyer).
The USPTO will never invoice you like this. They always take their payment upfront, because they're the federal goverment and they don't trust you to pay later. So if you get one of these letters, whether or not you choose to hire this company, just know this is NOT an invoice from teh Federal Goverment. You don't HAVE to pay it!