Registered trademarks assure the public consumer of the consistent quality and standards they can expect from the products and services associated with and/or bearing registered trademarks.
Registered trademarks displayed in relation to, or affixed to, products and services, identify the source for the products and services and only the registered trademark owner regulates quality and consistency to their standards.
Martial art instructors and martial art schools who are legitimately using registered trademarks have entered into a license agreement with the trademark owner to abide by and maintain the expectations, standards and all other quality assurance measures specified by the trademark owner for their products and services as delivered through licensees.
A license agreement with the trademark owner may also specify any other applicable terms and conditions related to the arrangement that exists between the licensee and the trademark owner including, but not limited to, any restrictions, customized terms, special conditions, licensing fees, royalties, etc.
Registered trademark owners may implement their licensing agreements with licensees in various manners, but one attribute that is common to virtually all such agreements is that the trademark owner generally maintains and publishes an official list of all licensees with whom they have an active agreement.
Registered trademark owners often provide a searchable list of their authorized licensees on the web (like this one), so that consumers are assured that those locations are upholding the standards of quality established and controlled by the trademark owner.
Registered trademark owners may frequently authorize new licensees and may frequently terminate existing licensees, so checking a trademark owner's official list of current licensees is an important due diligence step when verifying whether or not a particular martial art school or martial art instructor has the legal permission of the trademark owner to display and use the registered trademarks they may be employing.
With a minimum amount of due diligence you can easily determine if material fact is being misrepresented and if particular types of fraud are being perpetrated by verifying the name of the registered owner of the:
- martial art school name
- martial art system name
- martial art system logo
You can then use the links below and search through 3rd party references and/or government references to discover if any of these are registered trademarks and if the martial art school is licensed by the trademark owner.
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 the trademark owner's licensee list does not match the martial art school or instructor displaying the marks, then fraud is occurring and you have factual evidence to prove it.
- In both search features, searching for only LIVE marks will produce the most relevant results
- Search: U.S. Patent And Trademark Office (USPTO) (results depend on correct use of the feature)
- Search: Trademarkia (provides a simple search feature and accesses most records of the U.S.P.T.O.)
These fact verifying steps are key to determining whether or not any of following types of consumer fraud may be occurring due to a martial art instructor or martial art school engaging in any of these specific activities:
- trademark infringement fraud
- trademark counterfeiting fraud which can be a felony criminal offense.
- trademark counterfeiting conspiracy fraud which is a felony criminal offense.
Suggestions for protecting yourself from trademark related fraud include, but are not limited to the following:
- Identify – (Recognize fraudulent circumstances)
- Verify – (Perform a bit of due diligence to confirm if fraud is present)
- Testify – (Report fraudulent circumstances to appropriate 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.
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
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