Close

Latest Posts

Stay up to date with all our latest news and launches. Only the best quality makes it onto our blog!

Martial Art Fraud

Martial Arts Fraud is a public service initiative sponsored by the non-profit U.S. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation. This website provides educational information about specific circumstances with a high potential for consumers to be defrauded when searching for and selecting a martial art school as well as for students who are already enrolled at a martial art school and discover that any of the discussed illegal acts are present.
empty_force

Master Jukka Lampila

Master Jukka Lampila claims to be able to teach you a form of karate that requires no kicks or punches. All you need is your mind and your opponents will be defeated. It…
Read More

Consumer Fraud In Martial Arts

I Promise NOT

Consumer fraud by a martial art school or instructor begins when material fact is misrepresented in web pages, advertising, signage and verbal claims when registered trademarks are used without a license from the trademark owner.

Fraud by a martial art school may be perpetrated upon students for years through the use of counterfeit patches, issuance of counterfeit rank certificates, the sale or distribution of other counterfeit products and/or services and other means. In the martial arts realm multiple trademark infringers and trademark counterfeiters may act together in the commission of their activities.

  1. Trademark infringement violates federal statutes 15 U.S.C. § 1051, 1114, 1125 which is an act punishable by civil and criminal penalties. Trademark infringement is analogous to identity theft in that the trademark infringers use the identity of another (trademark owner) and spurious marks or registered trademarks without a license from the trademark owner in a dishonest manner calculated for advantage by confusingly suggesting, implying or otherwise representing by commission or omission that they are approved by, endorsed by, associated with, licensed by, or somehow affiliated with the trademark owner or that they are the source of things which they are not.
  2. Trademark counterfeiting violates federal statutes 15 U.S.C. § 1114, 1116, 1117, 1127, 18 U.S.C. § 2320 and is an act punishable up to a felony federal criminal offense. Trademark counterfeiters affix spurious marks or registered trademarks to products or services without a license from the registered trademark owner or copyright owner and produce and/or distribute their products, services or content in a dishonest manner calculated for their advantage by representing they are the source for things which they are not.
  3. Trademark counterfeiting conspiracy is trafficing in trademark counterfeits by multiple parties in violation of federal statutes 18 U.S.C § 371, 2318 & 2320 and is an act punishable as a federal criminal felony offense for all involved parties. Trademark counterfeiting conspiracy is present when multiple parties such as martial art vendors or instructors at different schools traffic in trademark counterfeit items, such as patches, flags, banners, rank certificates, etc.

Overview

The Martial Art Fraud website  provides information to help you identify and verify if material facts (i.e. trademark ownership) are being misrepresented and if they are, then fraud is likely being perpetrated upon consumers in your community by the martial art instructor or martial art school engaging in these illegal acts.

Federally registered trademark owners are the exclusive source for their particular products and/or services and as such only the trademark owner regulates and controls them to their standards.

Trademark infringers and trademark counterfeiters create the perception that they are providing the trademark owner’s products or services or that they are associated with, licensed by, or otherwise approved by or endorsed by the registered trademark owner.

These dishonest acts are conducted in a manner calculated for the infringer’s advantage and often include attracting prospective new students and/or inducing prospects to enroll at the martial arts school under false representations of material fact and/or generating purchases of trademark counterfeited products and services.

Prospects contacting a martial art school or martial art instructor justifiably rely upon advertising and initial representations to be truthful and may be at a disadvantage in the transaction because such representations originate from an expert in the transaction, the martial art instructor or school.

Martial art school names and martial art system names may also feature complex foreign language words or symbols that prospects may further trust and rely on the martial art instructor to truthfully represent to them and thus the prospect may be at ever greater disadvantage in the transaction.

Trademark infringers and trademark counterfeiters count on new prospects to trust their representations without conducting due diligence about them before making an enrollment or purchase decision.

New martial art student prospects may make decisions based on the misrepresentation of material fact made by a martial art instructor or martial art school that is engaging in  trademark infringement and/or trademark counterfeiting and in some cases may even sign a multi-year tuition contract resulting in student fraud that can continue for years.

Think Bernie Madoff.

His fraud was so well concealed that he got away with defrauding thousands of consumers out of billions of dollars from 1960 until 2008 before his scheme was uncovered.


Trademark Infringers

Trademark infringers violate federal statutes 15 U.S.C. § 1051, 1114, 1125 and are thus misrepresenting material fact to consumers by implying, suggesting or otherwise representing that they  they are the source for things which they are not.

Trademark infringers essentially steal the identity of a registered trademark, misrepresent material fact to consumers and use the registered trademark it in a dishonest manner calculated for advantage.

  • You can factually verify when this act is present.

Martial art school trademark infringers typically use spurious marks or registered trademarks without a license from the trademark owner and display the registered trademarks and/or registered logos on their web sites, signage, promotional literature, refer to them in their verbal sales presentations, etc. in a dishonest manner calculated for advantage by misrepresenting material fact to consumers by commission or omission and by  confusingly implying, suggesting or otherwise representing to consumers that they are a source for things which they are not.

Trademark Collage Big

Federally Registered Trademarks belong to the respective owners who reserve all rights.

The Martial Art Fraud website provides direct links to a number of different reporting agencies dedicated to protecting consumers from fraud and criminal activity. If you discover these illegal activities taking place in your community we encourage you to report them.


Trademark Counterfeiters

Trademark counterfeiters violate federal statutes 15 U.S.C. § 1114, 1116, 1117, 1127, 18 U.S.C. § 2320 by affixing a spurious mark and producing and/or distributing products, services or content without a license from the registered trademark owner to do so.

Trademark counterfeiters essentially steal the public identity of a registered trademark, misrepresent material fact to consumers and affix a spurious mark on products and/or services in a dishonest manner calculated for advantage.

  • You can factually verify when this is happening.

Martial art school trademark counterfeiters typically affix spurious marks on patchescounterfeit rank certificates issued to students, flags, banners, and other merchandise without a license from the registered trademark owner by misrepresenting material fact to consumers by commission or omission and by  confusingly implying, suggesting or otherwise representing that they are a source for things which they are not.

Unauthorized use of registered trademarks on counterfeit rank certificates and other items displayed in the martial art school to students and parents is a federal crime and is one means employed by unscrupulous martial art instructors to perpetuate fraud on students over an extended period of time.

Counterfeit Rank Certificate

Counterfeit Rank Certificate

Counterfeit Patch 1

Counterfeit Patch 1

Counterfeit items feature a trademark and may or may not look exactly identical to legitimate trademarked items. Check out these other counterfeits.

 The Martial Art Fraud website provides direct links to a number of different reporting agencies dedicated to protecting consumers from fraud and criminal activity. If you discover these illegal activities taking place in your community we encourage you to report them.


Trademark Counterfeiting Conspiracy

Trademark counterfeiting conspiracy involves trafficing of counterfeits by multiple parties and violates federal statutes 18 U.S.C. § 371, 2318, 2320 (revised in 2012) punishable as a federal criminal felony offense for all involved parties.  

When multiple martial art schools or instructors are involved in trademark counterfeiting activities such as using counterfeit patches, banners, certificates, etc. in multiple schools, or possessing or distributing counterfeit items in any manner.

  • You can factually verify when this is happening.

As a result of federal statute revisions in 2012, martial art instructors and/or martial art school owners engaged in this act may be found guilty of trademark counterfeiting conspiracy merely by participating in the illegal act such as receiving, distributing, selling, etc. any item bearing federally registered trademarks without a license from the trademark owner.

Suggestions for protecting yourself from trademark related fraud include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Identify – (Recognize fraudulent circumstances)
  2. Verify  –  (Perform a bit of due diligence to confirm if fraud is present)
  3. Testify – (Report fraudulent circumstances to authorities)

The Martial Art Fraud website provides direct links to a number of different reporting agencies dedicated to protecting consumers from fraud and criminal activity. If you discover these illegal activities taking place in your community we encourage you to report them.


Be Diligent

With a minimum amount of due diligence you can easily determine if material fact is being misrepresented and if these particular types of fraud are being perpetrated by verifying the name of the registered owner of the:

  1. martial art school name
  2. martial art system name
  3. martial art system logo

You can then quickly conduct a bit of due diligence by searching through 3rd party references and/or government references to discover if any of these are items are registered trademarks.

If any of them are returned in your search results, then you can verify the trademark owner’s name and if the owner’s or their licensed user list does not match the martial art school or instructor displaying the marks, then fraud is occurring and you have factual evidence.

  1. U.S. Patent And Trademark Office (USPTO) (results depend on correct use of the search feature)
  2. Trademarkia (provides a very simple search feature and accesses most records of the  U.S.P.T.O.)
  3. others

Suggestions for protecting yourself from trademark related fraud include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Identify – (Recognize fraudulent circumstances)
  2. Verify  –  (Perform a bit of due diligence to confirm if fraud is present)
  3. Testify – (Report fraudulent circumstances to authorities)

The Martial Art Fraud website provides direct links to a number of different reporting agencies dedicated to protecting consumers from fraud and criminal activity. If you discover these illegal activities taking place in your community we encourage you to report them.

It is beyond the scope of the Martial Art Fraud website to discuss less quantifiable matters of potential fraud such as claims regarding martial art system effectiveness – or lack thereof – etc.  A number of martial art forum websites already exist that provide an opportunity to debate those less quantifiable topics.


The Martial Art Fraud website provides information intended to help you proactively 1) recognize and identify circumstances with a high potential for you to become a victim of fraud, 2) verify factual evidence of fraud and 3) report evidence of fraud to appropriate agencies and authorities. Disclaimer

 

Martial Art Fraud

Martial Arts Fraud is a public service initiative sponsored by the non-profit U.S. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation. This website provides educational information about specific circumstances with a high potential for consumers to be defrauded when searching for and selecting a martial art school as well as for students who are already enrolled at a martial art school and discover that any of the discussed illegal acts are present.

One Comment on “Consumer Fraud In Martial Arts

[…] Kwan® cannot be verified through the United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation®, then consumer fraud may be […]