Conviction For Defrauding United States Trademark Owners
For a number of years, we have cautioned our clients who own trademark registrations not to respond to unsolicited, official-sounding emails which purport to require payment to avoid cancellation of their registrations. These emails come from private companies using names that closely resemble the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). They are sent to registrants using information that is available to the public on the USPTO website.
Conviction for Defrauding United States Trademark Owners
Earlier this month, the United States Department of Justice announced it successfully prosecuted Viktors Suhorukovs, a citizen of Latvia, who was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison and ordered to pay over $4.5 million in restitution. Mr. Suhorukovs pled guilty to mail fraud in a multi-million-dollar scheme to defraud owners of U.S. trademark registrations. He had established and operated Patent and Trademark Office, LLC, and Patent and Trademark Bureau, LLC. These entities gave the false impression that they were, in fact, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), deceiving more than 2,900 U.S. trademark registrants out of millions of dollars for inflated, and often fake, renewal fees.
This is one of many schemes meant to confuse and defraud owners of U.S. registrations with solicitations that are intended to look like official USPTO correspondence. The schemes often falsely promise to take required maintenance actions on behalf of the registration owner, or scam registrants into paying for services they don’t need.
Lott & Fischer notifies its clients by email and/or mail of upcoming deadline dates to keep their trademark registrations in force. Do not respond to unsolicited emails from companies asking for fees to monitor or maintain your trademark registrations. Should you receive such a solicitation, or should you have any questions about notices you receive, please contact us.