It is time to add another corporate compliance vendor – Corporate Compliance Center – to this blog’s Hall of Shame.
This story is so common that it would be boring if we weren’t discussing scam artists. (more…)
A couple of weeks ago a client emailed me with great concern. He received a letter that looked like a government demand for $225, lest a penalty of $250 be imposed by the state. It turns out that the letter was not from the state, but from Corporate Business Filings, the latest addition to my Hall of Shame.
Most of the way down the second page, the letter does have an oddly-worded disclaimer that there is no obligation to pay the amount requested. However, even though the disclaimer is upper-case, it is not nearly so prominent as the fear-inducing language in the rest of the letter – and it does not comply with a disclaimer that has been required by law since January 1, 2012.
Twice within the past 24 hours, a client has contacted me with concerns about trademark protection. In each instance, the concerns were caused by an e-mail that offered specified domain names in Asia. I will describe the e-mails in detail so you will know to be on guard if you receive anything similar:
- The subject line includes terms such as “copyright” or “intellectual property.”
- The text indicates that the sending company, an Internet domain registrar located in Asia, has received a request to register domain names with country codes in Asia that are similar to a “trademark” (more precisely, a domain name) that you own. For example, if you own <universalwidgets.com>, the e-mail might state that there are requests to register <universalwidgets.cn> and <universalwidgets.asia>.
- The e-mail then offers you an opportunity to protect your trademark by buying the Asian domain names yourself, rather than letting them be purchased by the third party. However, to take advantage of this opportunity, you must act quickly.
- The individual ostensibly sending the e-mail has an Americanized name, such as “John Zhou” or “Adam Hao”.