Article Contributed by Doug Kim, Founder and Attorney, Kim & Lahey Law Firm – Anyone who has registered or applied for a trademark knows it eventually must be renewed. Unfortunately, bad actors know this too and are trying to rip you off. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), trademark renewal scams are on the rise. They’re becoming so sophisticated that the USPTO has filed several trademark applications to increase protection for its own brand.

Being on a national trademark register is one of the many benefits of have a federally registered trademark. It allows others to search and find your registration. When other companies are trying to determine if a name is “available,” one of the first places they look is the USPTO database of trademark registrations and pending applications. To keep a trademark registration enforceable, it must be renewed periodically. Generally, the first renewal is five years from registration. The next one in five more years and then every 10 years after that. Unfortunately, bad actors are also looking at the public database. The USPTO says they’re seeing an increasing number of misleading solicitations and trademark filing scams.

The USPTO has also stated that it is “seeing more sophisticated enterprises entering the space” with some scams even impersonating the US Patent and Trademark Office. I know first hand. I received a fraudulent text regarding my trademark last year. The USPTO has taken steps in the past to curb this misleading and sometimes illegal behavior, including providing scam alerts, working with law enforcement and sanctioning filers who violate the US Patent and Trademark Office rules.

Read the full article to find out how to spot these scams.