After renewing our trademark a few months back, we recently received a letter from the "United States Trademark Registration Office" stating that there was a $375 fee "Now Due", to register our Trademark with the US Customs & Border Protection Bureau, part of the Department of Homeland Security. This would supposedly protect us from goods coming into the country that infringed on our trademark.
It looks very official and governmental, with references (like the above) to several governmental bodies and regulations, listed by official looking numbers: 15 U.S.C &&1058, 1141K, and baloney like that. None of this stuff is either incorrect or made up, but none of it applies to the reason they are asking for a payment either. It's as if they had copied and pasted out of the Patent and Trademark Office rule book, bits of this and bits of that, to just look official and slightly scary. [continued below]....
At the end of all this blarney, is this gem. I imagine that they're hoping nobody reads all the way to this part:
39 USC 3001(d)(2)(a): "THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLICATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER." THIS PRODUCT OR SERVICE HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED OR ENDORSED BY ANY GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY, AND THIS OFFER IS NOT BEING MADE BY AN AGENCY OF THE GOVERNMENT.
I would like to add to the above, "IF YOU SEND US ANY MONEY, YOU ARE AN IDIOT, AND WE WILL REJOICE IN THE HALLWAYS OF OUR OFFICE SUITE, DANCING IN A CONGA LINE AND SINGING OUR THEME SONG - DRAWN FROM THE COGENT OBSERVATION BY MR. P. T. BARNUM THAT, "THERE'S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE".
But that's my $.02, and is not, unfortunately, in the letter from these scam artists. I wish I could call them crooks, but, frankly, I don't see anything illegal about what they're doing. They're offering a service whereby they promise very little, state that they are no replacement for legal counsel, tell you that they'll try to notice if anybody is using your trademark or one confusingly similar, but that they can't be held accountable if they miss one.. or two... or all of them. I hope they make no money from this, but, alas, P.T. Barnum was not only right, he was frighteningly so.