This single trademark (TM) scammer victimized 2,900 people. His sentencing serves as a reminder to all those filing federal TM applications to be aware of phony e-mails from official-sounding organizations about alleged USPTO fees due regarding some aspect of your TM application or registration. As an attorney who has filed TM applications on behalf of clients, I've even received some of these e-mails myself.
To all those who've used an attorney to handle the filing and prosecution of your federal TM application (a wise move!), any communication about paying USPTO fees should come from your attorney. Beware of reminder/payment communications issuing from anyone other than counsel or the USPTO.
Suhorukovs’ renewal notices misrepresented the trademark registration’s expiration date. The renewal notices also contained a QR Code which linked the trademark holder directly to the official government USPTO website. The notices directed the victim to sign and return the notice. Once the victim signed and returned the renewal notice, Suhorukovs sent the victim an invoice for the renewal service and charged inflated prices for the renewal of the trademark. Victims would then, unknowingly, send renewal fees to Suhorukovs’ businesses, believing they were dealing with the USPTO.