Good News from the Trademark Office


Good News from the Trademark Office

by Susan Basko, esq.

Today, the U.S.Trademark Office sent out the good news below that one of the scammers who has bilked thousands of trademark applicants and holders out of millions of dollars has been arrested. The sad news is that there are many more such scammers.  The good news is that the U.S. Department of Justice has finally gotten serious about taking down these persistent frauds.

The way these scams work is that after a person applies for a trademark, they start receiving very realistic-looking bills via U.S. mail, email, or text.  The bills claim to be from the Trademark Office, and are for random amounts in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.  Many people have been fooled into paying recurring monthly bills.  There are no such fees or services required by the U.S. Trademark Office.  

Most of the people who get roped into paying these fake bills are do-it-yourself trademark applicants or those who use those scammy website things.  If they were working with a real lawyer, the lawyer would remind them the bill is fake.  It is ironic that people who skimp on legal fees by doing it themselves then go and pay thousands of dollars in fake fees. 

Developments on fraudulent solicitations 

This week, the United States Department of Justice announced that Viktors Suhorukovs, a citizen of Latvia, was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison and ordered to pay over $4.5 million in restitution after pleading guilty to mail fraud in a multi-million-dollar scheme to defraud owners of U.S. trademark registrationsSuhorukovs established and operated Patent and Trademark Office, LLCand Patent and Trademark Bureau, LLC. These entities gave the false impression that they were, in fact, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), scamming 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 that confuse and defraud owners of U.S. registrations with solicitations that are intended to look like official USPTO correspondence. These schemes often falsely promise to take required maintenance actions on behalf of the registration owner, or they scam registrants into paying for services they don’t need.

We have worked hard to fight these solicitations and assist law enforcement in cases like Suhorukovs'. Learn more about our ongoing efforts to combat scams on our website.