US law firms have reported an increase in emails from Chinese counterparts representing clients seeking to purchase idle US trademark registrations. The explanation behind is most likely related to the USPTO rule requiring foreign trademark applicants to use US licensed attorneys that went into effect on August 3.
Josh Gerben was quoted by the WTR about the legality of these inquiries by interested purchasers:
“[…]Even if the paperwork and chain of title looked good, the trademark registration available for purchase may be susceptible to a challenge on grounds of abandonment. Trademarks must be actively in commerce to maintain their rights. Therefore, if a trademark registration is available for sale on any marketplace, the purchaser should be highly sceptical[sic] of the ability of the registration to withstand a legal challenge to the validity of the registration. Ultimately the validity of any given trademark registration would depend on the facts about how the trademark was recently used, and the circumstances around the purchase and sale of the trademark.”
Source: Little, T. “Chinese law firm seeks to buy US trademarks: inside the market for ‘idle’ registrations”. WTR.com. August 8 2019