Owners of Intellectual Property Rights are increasingly targeted with unsolicited mail seeking payment for services in relation to trade mark, designs and patent matters. The following are common scams which IP owners should be aware of:
- Unsolicited invitations to apply to register your patent, design or trade mark or to publish them into various publications. They are usually presented in the form of an invoice. The correspondence is often official sounding, sometimes the name on the correspondence will be very close to that of the genuine authority but no legal protection will result from registration or publication and there is no obligation to pay these unsolicited invoices.
- Similar invoices are received by IP owners as their registrations approach renewal. Companies will offer to help you renew your registration for a fee which is significantly greater than the official renewal fee. Again, there is no obligation to pay these invoices.
If you receive an unsolicited invoice for any Intellectual Property services you should check carefully to see what service you are being offered and whether the invoice comes from an official source.
If in doubt, before paying you should check with your trade mark attorney or patent attorney firstname.lastname@example.org, ITMA (The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys) www.itma.org, CIPA (Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys) www.cipa.org or contact the relevant official body.