Trademark Owners Beware of Chinese Domain Name Marketing Ploy
Some e-mail marketing ploys are pretty clever and some spam or phishing attempts brilliantly disguised as valid e-mail. While there are many great reasons to register your trademark with the United States Patent & Trademark Office, including:
- Constructive notice nationwide of the trademark owner’s trademark rights
- Preventing others from registering and limiting your geographic trade area
- Evidence of ownership of the trademark
- Enhanced damages in the event of infringement
- Jurisdiction of federal courts may be invoked
- Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries;
- Registration may be filed with U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.
- Many great benefits and protections for a reasonably small price. It is typically less than $1,000 to obtain a federal trademark registration.
Unfortunately, there is also one small nuisance that sometimes comes along with federal registration. The trademark office publishes the contact information of all trademark owners. Savvy e-marketers and scammers may use that information to try to sell you services you do not need.
One of these e-marketing ploys is an email that is similar to this:
We are the department of registration service in China. We have something need to confirm with you. We formally received an application February 12, 2017, one company which self-styled "Ratec Industries Ltd" is applying to register Jaburg Wilk as brand name and domain names as below:
After our initial examination, we found that the brand name applied for registration is as same as your company's name and trademark. These days we are dealing with it, hope to get the affirmation from your company. If your company and this "Ratec Industries Ltd" is the same company, there is no need reply to us, we will accept their application and will register those for them immediately.
If your company has no relationships with that company or did not authorize, please reply to us within 7 workdays, if we can't get any information from you over 7 workdays, we will unconditionally approve the application submitted by "Ratec Industries Ltd".
Thanks for your cooperation.
Pretty clever, isn’t it? This email makes you feel that if you do not act, and act quickly, some unknown company is going to grab your trademark and domain name in various countries in Asia. The .cn country-code is top level domain extension for China. The goal is to get you to register a bunch of domain names with international suffixes.
In reality, there is no Ratec (we doubt there is a Leslie Smythe either). Other versions of this scam may not name names. They may just state that a third party inquiry had been made. This e-marketer has honed their creative writing to make the third-party claim more authentic by giving it a name.
You might be asking yourself whether you should be registering domain names with international suffixes. That depends on your business plan. If you decide that you want to register yourcompany.cn, you can register it through a local domain name registrar, such as Go Daddy. There is no need to do business with a foreign company and certainly no need to fall victim to clever, but deceptive e-marketing tactics.