As scammers become increasingly cunning, a new twist on an old ploy has caught law firms in their tangled web of deceit. The victims of this particular scheme are not selected at random. Instead, the targets are intellectual property firms who file “Schedule A” cases against online retailers accused of trademark infringement. One such law firm is Greer Burns & Crain. The firm regularly files “Schedule A” cases in the Northern District of Illinois. These suits target online retailers accused of selling counterfeit or infringing products. This in turn can require lawyers from Greer Burns & Crain to request online marketplace platforms such as Amazon or eBay to lift asset restraints once settlements are reached.
Scammers saw an opportunity and seized it. They made such requests to online marketplace platforms by fraudulently using a Greer Burns & Crain attorney’s signature block, which includes the GBC trademarks and the law firm’s domain name, gbc.law. The law firm then sued the scammers. In a recent ruling, a Northern District of Illinois judge found Greer Burns & Crain Ltd.’s trademarks were violated and ordered the domain name registries hosting the infringing website to be shut down. This ruling, and these scams, highlight the treacherous waters online retailers sued in Schedule A cases must navigate. They also exemplify the importance for online retailers to retain an experienced and established defense firm.