Paul C. VanSlyke, Senior Counsel at Hoover Slovacek LLP
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Texas entrepreneurs beware of trademark scams

Many Texas entrepreneurs understand the importance of protecting their intellectual property. In an age where social media feeds, smart televisions and the like seem to know what you have been looking for when it comes to advertisements, it may not surprise them when they receive an unsolicited notice regarding registering a trademark or renewing one. The problem is that some rely on this trusting nature and attempt to defraud unsuspecting individuals and businesses.

Some companies offer legitimate services regarding the registration of trademarks, but some are less than honest. Even if you know your trademark requires renewal at a certain point, which is accurately listed in a notice, that does not mean it should be trusted. This information is usually readily available on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's website.

Some of these solicitors attempt to lend credence to their operations by making their names sound official. They use words such as "agency," "United States" and more in their names. Unless it comes directly from the USPTO or an attorney the business used previously, a trademark owner should remain wary. These companies want money, usually up front, in exchange for services a business owner probably will not receive, which could result in the loss of a trademark.

Sadly, there are people out there who have no problem taking advantage of honest people. It may just be a good idea to throw away such solicitations. Some questions regarding a Texas business's trademark could be answered by the USPTO while others may require the experience and knowledge of an attorney. In any case, being aware that there are scams out there could end up saving a business money, time and effort.

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