Trademark and Corporate Certificate of Status Scams

Today, we are going to talk to you about scams, and how to avoid having your funds deceptively separated from your person or your entity. In particular, we are talking about scam letters or less colorfully, misleading letters from less than reputable companies. Indeed, these companies or the people behind them are trying to steal your money utilizing the tried and true classic confidence scam. The confidence part of the scam is your own company and/or trademark. Sadly, most attorneys know of a client or two that were duped into paying fees because of these scam letters. Because of this, we would like to talk about a couple of common types our clients have brought into our firm in the past.

Certificate of Status Scam Letter

certificate of status request form

First, we would like to talk to you about a very popular form of these scam letters, which is the certificate of status scam letter.

If you have a corporation formed in the state of Florida, your company’s name and mailing address arepublicly available. The aforementioned disreputable companies are farming those addresses to send you an official looking letter contending you need an official certificate of status.

The letter will look official (example copied to the left), claim to be from some official sounding entity, tell you must have this certificate, and ask for a fee to receive the certificate.  The letter may even include a seal, and be crafted to make you think this is official State business.

certificate of status request form scam letterSome of the better ones, like the one above, are even located in the state capitol to enhance the believability of the scam.

Lesser ones, like the one copied on the right, aren’t in Tallahassee and have the more suspicious PO Box address.

Of course, the certificate can be ordered only from the Secretary of State for the State of Florida, and it costs much less than $60.  So, we don’t really know what these guys are selling, but it is probably a worthless piece of paper (or a pdf file), so do yourself a favor and throw it away, and call your attorney.   


Trademark Catalog Scam Letter

catalog of trademarks letter scam

Another popular scam preys on registrants for trademarks before the USPTO.  Like the corporate certificate scam, this one relies on publicly available information to trick unsuspecting business owners. 

These scam letters usually promise to publish your, already published trademark, in some catalog. These scams are a little more devilish in that they raise the table stakes, typically asking for many hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.  Indeed, the example copied the the left requests over two grand from the trademark owner.



Again, with these letters, simply forward them to your attorney, and do not pay the requested fees.  Sadly, given the great many of scams out there, you should only trust documents from the USPTO and other State agencies, such as the Secretary of State.  If you have questions, please reach to your attorney and/or the USPTO or Secretary of State. We hope this information helps someone, and if you have received a new scam letter, please forward them along to Jack Abid at  If anything really interesting is sent along, we will post another video.  This post is based upon our first video, which can be viewed below.

Article by Jack Abid

Jack G. Abid is a shareholder and practices in patent prosecution group at Allen, Dyer, Doppelt, & Gilchrist, PA. Jack received a BS in physics from Jacksonville University and a BS in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech (i.e., making him a “helluva engineer”). Jack received his law degree from the University of Florida. His patent prosecution experience includes electrical and electronic equipment, telecommunications equipment and cables, laser and optical devices, semiconductor devices, semiconductor processing, mechanical devices, medical devices and software. While attending the University of Florida, Levin College of Law, Jack served as Editor-in-Chief, Research Editor and Web Editor of the Florida Journal of International Law. He was also a member of the Journal of Technology Law and Policy. He has secured hundreds of patents for his clients over 12 years of experience, and advised clients of all sizes on intellectual property.