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August 9, 2021

Maine officials warn businesses about scam related to trademark expiration

COURTESY / Maine Secretary of State's Office Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows is warning corporations and nonprofits they should look out for misleading materials in the mail.

Maine businesses should be wary of notices that a trademark is about to expire.

It may be a scam, Maine Attorney General Aaron M. Frey and Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said in a news release.

They said businesses, nonprofits and government agencies are potential targets of the scam, which warns that a trademark is about to expire and requests a renewal fee. A notice may offer to include the trademark in a private registry, which does not exist in the U.S., the officials said.

Courtesy photo
Aaron Frey

"When you receive a notice warning that a trademark is about to expire, always verify where it comes from before you send money," said Frey. "When in doubt, check with the [U.S. Patent and Trademark Office] to hear from the source about the status of your trademark and the steps you need to take."

The U.S. Patent and Trade Office has warned that some notices come from private companies offering services related to trademark registration. Many of these notices are lawful but misleading.

"It is a sad truth these days that unscrupulous actors are getting very creative in the ways they seek to scam people, businesses, or other organizations out of money," said Bellows. "While they try to use false urgency to get you to act, make sure to pause and always think twice before sending money to anyone. Your best defense is to take the time to verify that the notice, email, or text you’ve received is legitimate before you act on their threat."

Useful tips 

  • All official correspondence about your trademark application or registration will be from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va., and all emails will be from the domain
  • Applicants and registrants can check on the status of their application or registration by checking the Patent and Trade Mark Office's database. For more information, click here.
  • Mainers concerned that they may have received a scam notice or have sent funds as a result of one should contact the Office of the Attorney General at 207-626-8849 or

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