Have you been a victim of intellectual property (IP) fraud or scams? You’re not alone. IP theft costs businesses billions of dollars every year, and that number is only increasing as technology advances.
Just recently, in one of the biggest anti-fraud crackdowns in its history, the USPTO issued a show-cause order to senior executives of the Pakistan-based company Abtach Ltd, and its subsidiaries 360 Digital Marketing and Retrocube. The companies claimed to be based in the United States and operate numerous controversial low-cost filing agencies including Trademark Terminal.
The companies are accused of violating the USPTO’s rules of practice in activity related to dozens of low-cost trademark filing agencies. The most prominent of these is Trademark Terminal, a platform that the World Trade Registry (WTR) has reported on since 2021. The order included evidence that it was linked to unusual activity on thousands of US trademark applications, that it had spent thousands of dollars on Google Ads to fool applicants, and that a related entity allegedly defrauded one victim out of nearly $150,000.
These companies deceived and defrauded applicants for federal trademark registrations by improperly altering official USPTO correspondence, overcharging application filing fees, misappropriating the USPTO’s trademarks, and impersonating the USPTO. The order lists thousands of trademark applications that were filed by entities allegedly operated by Abtach. Unfortunately, victims that hired an Abtach-operated entity had their applications terminated and will need to accept that those applications and fees paid are all but lost.
Use these 3 tips to protect your business from predators like Abtach:
- Avoid trademark-related solicitations. Sometimes, businesses will contact trademark applicants and registrants attempting to get them to pay fees for services that are not needed or required. They charge inflated fees or provide services that, as non-attorneys, they are not authorized to provide. Many are simply scams, and they are on the rise.
- Hire a licensed U.S. attorney that specializes in Intellectual Property. Some unlicensed attorneys may offer legal services, such as assistance with filings or responding to an office action. Such services may be unlawful if not provided under the supervision of a licensed U.S. attorney.
- Educate yourself and your employees about potential scams. Visit the USPTO website to learn about potentially misleading trademark offers and notices, the types of services they offer, and how to detect them.
The Bottom Line
Combatting fraud on your own terms can feel overwhelming, but with the right resources, it doesn’t have to be. The three easy steps we’ve outlined here will help you protect your intellectual property and avoid fraudulent activities. If you’re looking for more personalized assistance or want to explore your legal options, we are here to help.