TradeMark Express & Urgent Trademark: Since 1992 - The Hidden Menace: How Poor Trademark Practices Damage Small Businesses and Capitalism

TradeMark Express & Urgent Trademark: Since 1992 – The Hidden Menace: How Poor Trademark Practices Damage Small Businesses and Capitalism.

In the ever changing wild world of business, trademarks are more than just symbols or logos; they’rethe embodiment of a brand’s
identity, reputation and success. Protecting these valuable assets is crucial for the continued growth of
small businesses and the health of capitalism as a whole. Small business is the foundation of capitalism. It encourages innovation and generates substantial wealth. When small business works, capitalism thrives. Everyone wins.


However, trademark predatory practices, perpetuated by negligent attorneys, nonattorneys, and trademark mill services that fail to conduct comprehensive legal research and file subpar trademark applications, are undermining the very foundations of small
business and capitalism itself.


When a small business is damaged from the very outset with bad advice, bad services to launch their very company name, then they are less likely to ever start another small business. Their friends and family will be intimidated from ever taking the risk of starting a new business. The cost to existing businesses to enforce their intellectual property against willfully ignorant infringers increases their costs to do business. It is all about trust.

My Zoom call with USPTO Commissioner David Gooder reiterated what I am writing about today. Recent USPTO practices over the last few years to fight fraud are continuing. I cite the USPTO demand for foreign based businesses to have a USA based attorney file their trademark, (as we provide our clients with our 6 of our 10 trademark attorneys from the USA), because of fraud from China. Also, the USPTO unilateral termination of over 21,000 trademarks in 2022, filed by trademark mill scam services because of fraud. I’d wager most of these business owners still do not know their trademark filings are dead.


Additionally, ever increasing USPTO efforts to audit seemingly exaggerated trademark filings. It is a fact the USPTO denies 39% of the trademark applications they receive. TradeMark Express has not had a final trademark refusal since 2008. Trademark Predatory Practices Unveiled Trademark attorneys and services are vital for helping small businesses protect their intellectual property. They navigate the complex legal landscape of trademarks, where similarities in sound, appearance and meaning must be investigated because they do very much matter, ensuring that businesses can continue to grow and innovate without the fear of being refused by the USPTO or CIPO, ever receiving a cease and desist over the next 10 years and being able to easily enforce against others exploiting their brand. However, there exists a darker side to this industry, where predatory practices thrive.

  1. Inadequate Legal Research:Some attorneys and non-attorneys fail to conduct the thorough legal research necessary to confirm the availability of a trademark. This
    negligence often results in filing applications for trademarks that are confusingly similar to existing ones.
  2. Trademark Mills: Some trademark services operate as “mills,” processing applications en masse without due diligence, potentially leading to trademark disputes and legal actions for the businesses they are supposed to protect.
    The Toll on Small Businesses
    Small businesses are especially vulnerable to trademark predatory practices due to limited financial and time resources. When trademark applications are poorly prepared ortrademarks are filed without proper legal research, the consequences can be devastating:
  3. Legal Battles: Small businesses may become entangled in costly trademark disputes,
    with little financial room to wage these battles effectively.
  4. Reputation Damage: A small business’s reputation can be tarnished when it is
    perceived as the aggressor in a trademark dispute or as the negligent party when its
    trademark rights are violated.
  5. Stifled Growth: Poorly filed trademark applications can result in delayed or denied
    trademark protection, hindering a small business’s expansion.
    Capitalism at Risk
    The core of capitalism is built on competition, innovation, and the protection of property
    rights. Trademark predatory practices undermine this foundation:
  6. Inhibiting Innovation: Small businesses are less likely to innovate and invest in their
    brands if they fear their efforts will be in vain due to predatory trademark practices.
  7. Reducing Market Access: When predatory practices harm small businesses, it
    reduces competition, limiting consumers’ choices and the overall health of the market.
  8. Weakening Confidence:If the public perceives trademark disputes as commonplace
    and unfair, it erodes trust in the market system, undermining the very essence of
    capitalism.
    Seeking a Solution
    To protect small businesses and the principles of capitalism, we must address trademark
    predatory practices. Businesses, lawmakers, and consumers all play a role:
  9. Businesses: Due diligence is crucial when seeking trademark protection. Small
    businesses should carefully choose reputable attorneys and trademark services with a
    proven track record of success.
  10. Regulators: Legal authorities and trademark offices should enforce stricter standards
    for trademark applications, penalizing those who engage in predatory practices.
  11. Consumer Awareness: By supporting businesses that value ethics and transparency,
    consumers can encourage responsible trademark practices and discourage predatory
    ones.
    In a world where trademarks are integral to branding and success, protecting these assets
    is essential. Trademark predatory practices pose a real threat to small businesses and
    capitalism. By acknowledging this issue, taking proactive steps, and demanding
    accountability, we can preserve the integrity of the market and secure a fair and
    competitive business landscape for all.
    Small businesses are the backbone of capitalism, and protecting them from predatory
    practices is essential for the system’s continued vitality.
    At TradeMark Express, we specialize in helping start-ups protect their intellectual property
    rights. Our team of skilled attorneys understands the intricacies of trademark law and can
    provide you with expert advice tailored to your business needs. We offer a range of
    services, including trademark registration, monitoring, and enforcement.
    Don’t risk leaving your brand unprotected. Start your new business venture with legal
    clarity by securing a trademark. Contact us today for a free expert trademark consultation.
    Together, let’s build a strong foundation for your business’s success.

Thank you!

Trademarks are company and product names, logos and slogans. They are way broader in coverage than a domain name search, a corporate name search or a web search on Google, Yahoo or Bing.


Rights go to those who use a mark first under common law and/or apply for a Federal or
State trademark first.


Things that matter include SIMILARITIES in sound, appearance or meaning. Related
goods/services. Channel of distribution. Customers. Famous names/marks. Over reaching
litigious companies.


A legal comprehensive legal clearance trademark and common law search can take 3
hours each. Trademark attorney review is needed.


Some people say – “I don’t want a trademark!” Great, most companies do not need one.
But to avoid a “failure to communicate”, one must understand the 2 parts to a trademark.
1) Being LEGALLY CLEAR, under trademark law, and 2) Getting a federal or State
trademark. #1 every business needs – at least. #2 is advantageous as a mark gains
ownership and broadens rights in sound, appearance and meaning.
Please note – The USPTO and CIPO expect this work done before filing any trademark,
as by statute, they cannot for you. If another company has rights, then they have 10 years
to enforce against you.


Trademark enforcement can be executed against infringers in a lot of ways, in
addition to direct contact. Complaining where the infringer advertises – i.e. how they sell,
where they sell – i.e. channels of distribution and where they manufacture. If their
distribution crosses country borders, then a complaint to customs is effective for goods to
be blocked or seized. If they have a trademark, a cancellation of their mark is an option.
Where a complaint is disregarded, an attorney cease and desist has more power.
Being 100% sure your mark has rights over any infringereither under first use
Common Law or your own registered or pending trademark is common sense. Being
certain when they started using the mark is key. Competitive checks to ascertain reality
are needed. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine is unparalleled. See:
https://archive.org/web/.


Trademarks need to be enforced evenly. So, if you find one infringer, then you should
run a comprehensive research to find if any more infringers exist in sound, appearance or
meaning under trademark law. IF so, then your mark’s rights need to be enforced against
those companies as well. This is our 5-6 hour $400 Start-Up Package, including attorney
research review and consultation. Remember, we have 10 trademark attorneys in our
network included in our low fees. Attorney work to enforce is not included in our Start-Up
Package.


The point is your trademarks have great value to your company.When you have a
trademark you are accepting the duties and obligations of enforcement. If you neglect,
then you slowly lose rights against infringers. This is called acquiescence. If you allow too
many company’s to infringe, then you make it harder to enforce.

When you ever buy or sell a business, a strong trademark shores up its goodwill.

Since we sent the following alert on April 30, 2023, we have had 10 more clients
complain they too were contacted about the following scam. Here it is again.
There is a new phone call trademark scam starting up – as if we needed another one.
The USPTO publishes a list of 85 documented scam examples. See –
https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/protect/caution-misleading-notices. (See more links
about scams below.)


Personally, I’d add add all the trademark services and attorneys who do not do true
comprehensive legal research as scams as well. On the border is LegalZoom who had
tried to do comprehensive research before, but lately has dumbed down their common law
searches to save $. Most who don’t try are definitely damaging their clients to make a
quick buck. When you do as many trademarks as we do, you see all the people who have
to change their business and product names because little to no research was ever done
to avoid infringement and acceptance at the USPTO. Other firms have 10 years to move
to cancel a registered trademark.


The new scam is done right after a new trademark is filed. The caller id spoofs the
USPTO main phone #. The caller says they a USPTO trademark attorney. They say they
will approve their trademark application for $225, then the TM symbol can be used right
away. They ask for a credit card payment on the spot to compete the scam.
One of our clients alerted us to this event. I reached out to Jason Lott, one of our contacts
at the USPTO. Here’s our LinkedIn exchange:


WEDNESDAY View Chris’ profile
Chris DeMassa 3:28 PM
Hi Jason, hope you are doing well. The person I was referring to above, in Sept, said
she did not want to cooperate in providing any more details.
Today, I have another one. A client of ours who just filed April 2 just told me he has
received 2 scam overtures. They seem very aggressive given he just filed a few
weeks ago. One was the WTR $1420 offer to publish in their directory. Isn’t that
World Trade Review? Our client is sending a copy.
The alarming one was a call he received from someone saying he was from the
USPTO. The # on caller ID was 571-272-1000. Obviously a spoof #! They told our
client they’d approve their trademark application for $225, then he could use the TM
symbol. Our client applied for a service mark in Class 42. Chase Bank flagged it as a
possible fraud for 3 days, until our client approved it a few hours ago. I happened to
call him about another trademark he had wanted.
Have you heard of these new fraud efforts?
Usually I have only seen trademark renewals targeted.
Thank you!
Chris 650-948-0530 -or- Zoom Anytime @https://bit.ly/TradeMarkZoomMeeting


Chris DeMassa 5:19 PM
042623 – xxxxxxxx – WTP scam letter.pdf
Hi Jason. see attached. The WTP scam letter. Chris 650-948-0530
THURSDAY Jason Lott sent the following message at 3:38 PM


Jason Lott 3:38 PM
Yeah, it’s getting really bad out there. We actually just had a scam awareness
webinar today trying to get the word out about these
scams. https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/events/trademark-scams-how-avoidthem-and-what-do-if-you-get-fooled
The phone spoofing one is fairly new, but has been circulating for a
bit. https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/protect/spoofing-phone-numbers
The WTP scam is older, but they might be using a new address. You can see PDFs
of all the scam letters we’ve collected over the years (including two from WTP) on
our “Caution: Scam alert”
page: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/protect/caution-misleading-notices
It’s good you’re keeping an eye out for your clients. If it’s helpful, be sure to direct
them to our “Protect against trademark scams”
page: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/protect. There’s lots of good information
there.

All the best!

This still is the best trademark video ever. Even if you have seen it before, take a look
again. NOTHING is more important for your business than your intellectual property!


Crash Course Trademark Primer Video:
Trademarks and Avoiding Consumer Confusion: Crash Course Intellectual Property #5
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gWaAJR5L18


We have been using this copy for over 20 years:
Comprehensive legal I.P. research is needed to make sure your trade name is
LEGALLY CLEAR, before opening, before expansion, before incorporation or
before designing your logo. Similarities in sound, appearance and meaning
affect legal availability too.

Talk to us about trademark practices!

July 31, 2022 was our 30 Year Anniversary!


FACT – TradeMark Express has not had a final refusal at the USPTO in 15 years.
We have never had a refusal in Canada, or any other country ever – in 30 years.
Our work, and your heeding the advice of our network of 10 trademark
attorneys has added up to ZERO trademark filing refusals at CIPO and the
USPTO since 2008.


We wouldn’t be the oldest, most successful trademarking service in North
America without your business.


We also seem to be the last trademark service including some inexperienced
trademark attorneys, who believe in ACTUAL COMPREHENSIVE legal research to
determine if your trademark is LEGALLY CLEAR, before use and before filing any
trademark application – just like the USPTO expects. Yes, this legal research work
is needed – even if not trademarking. Trademarking is advantageous, but every
mark must be LEGALLY CLEAR, based on trademark law.


IF a comprehensive clearance legal research report isn’t 600-800 pages, then it
simply is not done. When enough research strategies are done correctly, and
enough databases are correctly accessed, then and only then will there be a
sizable enough report to prove If any given mark is LEGALLY CLEAR or not.
The problem for most firms is that they rely way too heavily upon an exact name
search on the Internet, and maybe a direct hit search on the CIPO or USPTO web
sites.


They may have been infringing upon some other firms rights in the first place
because comprehensive clearance legal research wasn’t run before first use, or
business start-up. I believe a vast majority of small businesses are totally
unaware of the risk they take when they do not do a full legal search.


At a time when MANY competitors and attorneys are shying away from doing
comprehensive clearance research, from what used to be a 100% practice in
2010, TradeMark Express has chosen to increase its talent in this critical area.
Additionally, we will continue to call out the negligent competitors who sell
trademark “application only” services, based on light Google and direct hit TESS
searches, including unethical attorneys who do not keep the promise to their
clients to protect their best interests. Former USPTO Commissioner David
Gooder called these people “trademark mills”, who “damage” their clients.
It is wonderful to come to work without fear of an angry phone call when a
trademark is refused, like our competitors tolerate every day just for their quick
application only sales. BEWARE of “TRADEMARK MILLS”, as described by USPTO
Commissioner David Gooder, on a conference call with me on June 11, 2021.
Thank you! Chris DeMassa 650-948-0530 / Marcela & Erica 202-496-1600 /
Heather 714-401-3030
Contact Us – Call – Anytime Zoom – Email
TradeMark Express
https://www.tmexpress.com/
Urgent Trademark
https://urgenttrademark.com/
650-948-0530
Los Altos, California Office Staff
202-496-1600
Washington, DC Office Staff
Email: staff@tmexpress.com
Open 7am to 4pm EST, Mon. – Fri.
Since 1992

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