Following Massive Scam, 5,550+ Trademark Applications Filed by “Low-Cost” Filers Invalidated
On January 25, 2022, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) concluded that low-cost trademark filing companies, ABTACH Ltd., 360 Digital Marketing LLC, and Retrocube LLC (collectively, the “Respondents”) were engaged in an egregious scheme to deceive the USPTO as well as their own customers. As a consequence, the USPTO has invalidated more than 5,500 trademark applications filed by those companies. This outcome should caution entrepreneurs and companies against the dangers of using such low-cost trademark filing companies for their planned trademark filings.
Respondents operate dozens of websites that hold themselves out as U.S.-based companies that offer low-cost logo design and trademark services. In actuality, each of the websites is controlled by a Pakistani company that is currently under investigation in Pakistan for criminal fraud. First, the Respondents are not a law firm, nor does it employ attorneys, so it was not authorized to file trademark applications in the first place. However, worse than that, the Respondents also:
- Advertised falsely low filing fees (ex: $49 per application plus filing fees) for filing new trademark applications to lure potential customers into using its services.
- Sent fake demand letters to its customers bearing the USPTO’s official seal that threatened legal action if those customers did not register their logos. These letters, of course, scared the customers into paying for unnecessary services.
- Filed and paid for single-class trademark applications (each class requires a fee of $275-350 per class), but then modified the receipts to make it appear that multiple filing fees were paid. Respondents then passed these fake receipts along to its customers and charged them for multiple classes.
- Purposefully made mistakes in the trademark applications filed. In turn, these issues would need to be corrected, and Respondents would charge customers for those corrections.
- Signed trademark applications with forged signatures, purporting to be a representative of its customer’s company.
- Assured its customers that the investigation being conducted by the USTPO was merely “routine.”
Following its investigation into these deceptive acts, the USPTO sanctioned the Respondents by, among other things, invalidating the more than 5,550 trademark applications that the Respondents had filed. Unfortunately, the USPTO indicates that each of the applicants that hired the Respondents to file a trademark application on their behalf must now re-file their trademark application. They also recommend that the applicants use the services of an attorney to assist with those filings.
If you or your company have been affected by this scam or if you have other trademark-related questions, please contact a member of our Intellectual Property team. Additionally, the USPTO website provides additional information and resources for avoiding and responding to similar scams: