A journey through trademarks

trademark-scams

I recently received notice that with the simple multiple clicks of a mouse, scratching my head multiple times, and paying several hundred dollars to the US government (which my grandmother, regardless of whether asked or not, would emphasize that Obama was going to waste) that my trademark application for Vinologue has been approved. Now, all nefarious evildoers who want to cause mayhem in the US cannot do so with the name Vinologue lest they infringe upon my mark. I can sleep easier by knowing this, as well as downing two glasses of wine.

Many people opt to use a lawyer for filing, but it’s not really necessary as you go here, fill out a number of details, click submit, pay, and then wait for nine months or so for approval–naturally it’s longer if you run in to problems. The only weirdness in this is that the USPTO wants you to submit all your registration information for them to then make completely public. That’s “fun” because many scammers long ago realized that they could just filch through this information and send you crazy bills like the ones you see above stating that I need to pay several thousand dollars to do to international registration.

This registration does actually exist and is called the Madrid Protocol which allows you to cross-register the trademark in 77 other countries for something like $150. That’s a far cry from the several thousand these phony groups were requesting and who all seemed to have addresses in the Czech Republic. I suppose it gives that “flare” of international-ness to it all, but given the fact I received about 10 of these at the mailing address and another five to the email, you think they’d maybe wake up to the fact that a lot of people are running this scam and those of us on the receiving end might think something was up. Of course people still seem to fall prey to the Nigerian scam and even think that once deceived they can go to Nigeria to get their money back.