Given the technology available today, it would seem possible to get your trademark registration needs managed quickly, all online, and for very little money. Unfortunately, the adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true,” very much applies here. Case in point, the recent investigation by the World Trademark Review (WTR) of the low-cost online trademark filing agency Trademark Terminal. In speaking with legal experts and former clients of the company, they uncovered several troubling concerns.
The promise that doesn’t deliver
The WTR discovered Trademark Terminal has allegedly launched other near-identical low-cost filing platforms called Trademark Axis, Trademark Falcon, Trademark Funnel, and Trademark Regal. What do they have in common? They all promise, “Register a trademark for just $99 in less than 10 minutes,” or something similar. However, WTR looked into records at the USPTO, and found incorrect application information, alleged “scam” legal costs, and evidence that company representatives are based overseas despite claiming to be in California.
Problems with USPTO filings
WTR analyzed over 100 applications filed with the USPTO by Trademark Terminal and the other platforms. They found instances of, allegedly:
- Using the applicant name but a Trademark Terminal representative’s email and office phone number. All trademark applications must include the applicant’s personal contact information.
- Acting as the applicant without the client’s awareness when communicating with the USPTO.
- Using what appears to be a fake consent form.
Additional concerning signs
Among Google Reviews of Trademark Terminal, WTR found negative, one-star reviewers alleging that:
- They have been refused refunds.
- They need to re-file applications with an attorney due to incorrect information on the original filing.
- Trademark Terminal charges $99 initially, then charges much more in “legal and other fees.” Reviewers complained they did not know better and thought the fees were necessary.
Trademark scams can continue
Let me make this very clear: Brand owners are never required to use an outside service or respond to payment demands from “companies” to maintain the validity of their marks. You should disregard any notice that is not from official governmental registries. Private companies not affiliated with the USPTO will use publicly available information from federal databases to send you solicitations. Many of these notices —very official-looking in appearance—tell you to act now and pay immediately. The names and acronyms suggest they are government bodies, using terms like Trademark, Registration, Office, Agency, etc. These links provide an overview of the type and scope of misleading notices out there. Read more from the USPTO, EUIPO, and WIPO.
When we work together, you are working with someone who has been practicing Intellectual Property Law exclusively since 1996. I am a real person, with real success stories, who will actively work to help you identify, register, and police your inventions, brands, and creations. Even if you’ve worked with an intellectual property attorney before, or have tried to get what you need from online services, you’ll find working with me is quite different. I can enhance and elevate any work that you’ve done, which will help you refine and succeed with your business plan. I look forward to hearing from you.