Wed 19th Oct 2016
IP Scam #1 – Beware fake trade mark renewal notices
To ensure that you do not pay unnecessary costs, businesses interested in trade marks should be on their guard against fraudsters and scams relating to trade marks.
Several companies from around the world pretend to be official organisations, in the hope that money will be sent to them by mistake. Fake trade mark renewal notices are frequently received by brand owners from official looking bodies with names such as ‘Patent and Trade Mark Office’ and ‘Patent and Trade Mark Organisation’ seeking payment for trade mark renewals.
The scammers hope that recipients will be deceived into thinking that they are paying the Intellectual Property Office. Sometimes such letters are sent when registrations are not due for renewal, or for sums of money far in excess of the actual Government fees.
If Page White & Farrer has registered your trade mark, then we will have diarised when renewals are due and aim to send our renewals clients reminders at the correct time to the address we have for you in our records.
The Intellectual Property Office regularly takes legal action by way of infringement and passing off action to prevent such companies from trading. In one recent case, a scammer was ordered to pay £500,000 plus legal costs.
The Advertising Standards Authority has also successfully brought action against several companies for misleading invoices. Trading Standards departments also act in relation to advertisers who continue to engage in misleading advertising.
You should be suspicious of any invoice that does not come from Page White & Farrer for costs associated with your trade mark portfolio. Please send copies to us at email@example.com and we will check it for you, and liaise with the appropriate authorities who require such evidence to close down scammers.
This briefing is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. We can discuss specific issues and facts on an individual basis and answer any questions you receive from others about Brexit. Please note that the law may have changed since the date this was first published in October 2016.