Trademarkia by Legal Force claims to be the "largest visual search engine for more than 7 million trademarked logos, names, and slogans on the Internet." It provides "software and technology tools to help facilitate and automate trademark processes" and is a frontend for legal services offered by Raj V. Abhyanker's LegalForce R.A.P.C. Worldwide that claims to be the law firm that protect more trademarks than any other law firm on the planet for a fraction of the cost.
At Trademark Factory®, Trademarkia is probably the name we hear most often from brand owners who choose their trademarking provider by price. Their logic goes, I can get my trademark through Trademarkia for just a couple of hundred dollars, why should I buy Trademark Factory's all-inclusive package for CAD 1995?
In addition to providing our comments to Trademarkia's fine print, we decided to actually order their services to demonstrate the flaws in their model.
Check out our findings below.
On Trademarkia's website, the first thing you see is an invitation to search millions of trademarks filed since 1870 for free. So we gave it a test with what we knew was an unregistable brand:
We ran the search and were instantly offered to use their services to file a trademark application for what seems to be a very low fee, starting from USD $159:
Unlike what most brand owners naïvely believe, these results are not a proper trademark search. At best, these results show is that the name was not found in Trademarkia's database. But the call-to-action explicitly says, "so Apply for it now."
Of course, Trademarkia knows that their automated search is no good for anything beyond a direct knock-out search, so in the fine print, they're upselling you to their “comprehensive trademark search” that supposedly covers similar trademarks in the same or related classes, as well as checks whether the chosen mark is descriptive or generic:
The thing is, very few people would notice it: compare the size of the calls to action. On top of it, Trademarkia charges $299 per class for their comprehensive search:
We KNEW that MICROSOFT SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS was not a registrable trademark, but what if you apply for your trademark using Trademarkia assuming your brand IS registrable?
After going through many pages of the form on Trademarkia's website, we finally saw a page that suggested we could choose the country where we wanted to register our trademark. We chose to register MICROSOFT SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS in the U.S. for what was advertised as USD $159:
Then it turned out that USD $159 was only for their Standard Package for one class of goods and services, excluding the governent fees. Trademarkia also offers Plus package for USD $339 per class + govt. fees, and Gold Package for USD $499 per class + govt. fees:
Yes, they don't actually tell you that the price is per class until you get to the very last page.
But this is what you'll see if you choose to file your mark in 2 classes:
Or you would see this if you chose to file your mark in 3 classes:
And so on…
Below, buried among various upsells, there's yet again an invitation to do a proper trademark search (can you spot it?):
To proceed to the next step, you need to state that you have read, understand, and agree to Trademarkia's terms of service. These terms are conveniently stuck into a non-resizable textbox:
Naturally, nobody reads these documents. But we did. Just for kicks. Here's what we saw (yes, we had to take separate screenshots because you can't read the text properly without scrolling):
In case you can't read it, this says that even the Gold package that claims that "a Licensed Trademark Attorney takes Care of Everything + Unlimited Attorney Consultation", in fact, it does NOT cover: responses to Office Actions; review, analysis, and formal opinion of prior art or trademark search results; assessment of likelihood of confusion challenges; assessment of statutory and court-sanctioned bars to trademarkability; etc.
Watch the video below where Trademark Factory®’s founder, Andrei Mincov, explains the trademarking process. You will learn why responding to office actions is not an optional step that rarely happens but actually the more common development of your trademark applications:
So, long story short, we paid Trademarkia's fee and waited.
Six days later (yes, SIX days later!), we received an email from LegalForce's attorney, where he informed us that their "initial search of existing registered trademarks has revealed one or more federal trademarks that are the same or substantially similar to our applied for mark."
The attorney expressed the opinion that "these marks may cause an issue with our application once it is reviewed by the Trademark Office" and let us know that a certain MICROSOFT trademark "may be cited against our applied for mark as likely to cause confusion":
What a surprise!
In his long letter full of legalese, the attorney kindly suggested to run a search for a different name:
We asked to clarify whether we could refrain from filing the application and get our money back.
The attorney promptly responded that because "legal work has been completed on our order," we couldn't get a refund:
When we didn't respond, we even got a reminder from the same attorney 3 weeks later, making sure that we understood our options:
So there you have it.
First, they lure you in by telling you that you should apply for what can easily be an unregistrable mark.
Then they lure you in with a low filing fee which can easily become a multiple of the initial quote.
Then they won't offer you a refund if you decide not to file the trademark that they will identify as unregistrable.
Better yet, if you believe the description of their Gold Package and assume that "a Licensed Trademark Attorney takes Care of Everything" means that "a Licensed Trademark Attorney takes Care of Everything," you'd be in for a massive surprise when you realize that "Everything" does not cover essential steps in the trademarking process.
This is precisely how you would become hostage to the firm that will be milking you as your trademark application goes through the Trademarks Office.
Apparently, Trademarkia and the law firm behind it, LegalForce, did not appreciate that we exposed their deceptive and misleading practices, so they sent us a Notice to Cease and Desist:
And speaking of unfair trade, Trademarkia really shouldn't be throwing rocks from inside of their glass house. It is their website that goes against the notions of fair trade, which is precisely why we created the case study about Trademarkia.
This letter adds a nice touch showing exactly what you can expect if you're not happy with the Trademarkia ripoff.
We'll keep you posted as this David vs. Goliath story develops.
What do you think about this story? Please post your comments and share this around!
I had a phone chat with the founder of Trademarkia, during which we discussed Trademarkia's interface and their cease-and-desist letter.
Mr. Abhyanker informed me that they have added a few clarifications on Trademarkia's website to make it less confusing.
The first change is this note that is added below search results:
This does add some clarity in the sense that those who happen to read the note will know that there's more to a proper trademark search than just a straightforward confirmation that an identical trademark had not yet been registered or applied for. The question remains, how many people will actually read and, more importantly, understand the note. But it's certainly a step in the right direction.
The second change is that now their Gold package is no longer described as "a Licensed Trademark Attorney takes Care of Everything + Unlimited Attorney Consultation". Here's what is says now:
So it still doesn't explicitly mention that responses to office actions are not covered, but at least, this new wording is no longer misleading.
I also received confirmation that they will not be pursuing the threats in their demand letter.
First of all, we do a proper comprehensive trademark search, for free. Each search is reviewed by a licensed attorney or trademark agent. You pay NOTHING until and unless you choose one of our packages AFTER we walked you through your registrability report and explained to you the chances of your trademark being registered.
Second, if you choose our All-Inclusive package, then you know that responding to Office Actions, no matter how complex, is covered by our single all-inclusive flat fee. And if you choose our Ultimate package, then our fee will even cover unexpected opposition proceedings. This way, you have complete predictability of your budget.
And finally, if during your registrability consultation, we tell you that we think your trademark is registrable, then you will get our unique 100% money-back guarantee. If you choose our All-Inclusive package and your trademark does not get approved by the Trademarks Office, you will get everything your paid us back, even if, as Trademarkia puts it, "legal work has been completed." If you choose our Ultimate package, then our money-back guarantee will cover you all the way up to registration, including opposition proceedings.
Here's a quick summary of what makes Trademark Factory® different from Trademarkia:
|What you get from Trademarkia||What you get from Trademark Factory®|
|Barely useful automated search.||Free, no obligation, comprehensive trademark search and registrability opinion prepared by licensed attorneys and trademark agents.|
|You are expected to understand search results yourself.||You get licensed attorneys and trademark agents walk you through your registrability report over the phone, for free.|
|Takes 6 days after you have paid to find out if they have a conflict of interest or if they consider your trademark unregistrable.||You can get Trademark Factory®'s representative to walk you through your registrability report over the phone less than two days after you request your free search. No purchase necessary.|
|Unpredictable filing fees that vary based on the number of classes of goods and services.||You know your entire budget from start to finish with Trademark Factory®'s unique single all-inclusive flat fee.|
|Unpredictable fees relating to responses to office actions and various other steps that your trademark application will go through||You know your entire budget from start to finish with Trademark Factoryreg;'s unique single all-inclusive flat fee.|
|No money-back even when they don't file your trademark because they consider it unregistrable.||You will know the chances of your mark being registered before you spend a dime. Zero cost to find out that your trademark is unregistrable.|
|No money-back when a filed trademark gets rejected by the Trademarks Office.||With Trademark Factory®'s ALL-INCLUSIVE and ULTIMATE packages, you get 100% of your money back if the trademarks we told you were registrable are not approved.|
|No assistance in picking a registrable mark. Only one additional search before you have to pay again.||We will work with you on finding a trademarkable brand until we find a trademarkable brand that you are happy with.|
Trademark Factory® is the only firm in the world where you can get a free comprehensive trademark search and get professional do-it-for-you trademarking services for a single all-inclusive flat fee with 100% money-back guarantee.
Check if your brand is trademarkable. Order your free comprehensive trademark search today.