Intellectual Property Services
November 26th, 2019
If you hold a patent or trademark, you might have recently received some official-looking mail from a company called Intellectual Property Services requesting payment of some kind. Do not confuse this company with the government.
Back in 2017, the FTC warned of these types of solicitations:
The names, emblems, and wording may seem official and the correspondence may even include [U.S. Patent and Trademark Office] application serial numbers, filing dates, or other publicly-available information. But the solicitations aren’t from the USPTO and some may offer services that are overpriced, unnecessary, or downright deceptive.
The “renewal” notice TINA.org received from Intellectual Property Services last month requested payment in the amount of $2,356. The letter’s fine print noted how the company apparently accessed our information:
The trademark application has been published in the official Gazette, which is edited by [the USPTO]. This publishing forms the basis of our offer. Please note, registration is not affiliated with the publication of the official International Patent Application registration and is not a registration by a government entity.
While the Czech Republic address in the letter immediately raised our suspicions, the FTC reports that some patent and trademark holders have paid companies like Intellectual Property Services hundreds or even thousands of dollars, mistakenly thinking they were paying fees to the USPTO.
The FTC offers these tips: Read any notice about your patents or trademarks very carefully. Official mail from the USPTO will come from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, Virginia, and emails from addresses ending “@uspto.gov.”
Find more of our coverage on government imposter scams here.