Our constant reminder- beware of fake invoices!!
There have been a number of announcements from the UK Intellectual Property Office and other legitimate Intellectual Property Organisations in the recent months, warning of fake invoices that could be very costly.
You need to be aware that not all correspondence you receive that appears to be legitimate is in fact that.
A number of fake invoices have been received by trade mark applicants and owners claiming to be from Trade Mark and Intellectual Property Organisations stating that their trade mark is up for renewal and a substantial higher than normal fee needs to be paid. In addition, there has been a rise in fake invoices being sent to new trade mark applicants claiming they need to pay further inflated application fees.
The legitimate trade mark office in the UK is the UK Intellectual Property Office. The legitimate trade mark office in the EU is the EU Intellectual Property Office.
If you recieve communication from any other body claiming to be the legitimate office, please take care.
Your best course is to contact the UK Intellectual Property Office or The Trademarkroom immediately and do not reply to any correspondence. Also it is very important that you do not pay anything they ask you to.
This will not get them off your back or solve the problem, they will keep coming to you under their act of a legitimate company collecting fees and extract more and more money from you.
However it does help the UK Intellectual Property Office and other organisations gain more information in thier fight to prevent these invoices being sent.
Earlier this year, a company that had sent a large number of these fake invoices were taken to court by the UK IPO, who won and recovered a large amount of damages.
While we are hoping this is enough to prevent others from carrying on with this fraud, you can never be too careful.
Be vigilant, careful and thorough. All fees that should be paid the UK IPO or any other legitimate organisation are clearly stated on their website. These would not change from person to person.
The UK Intellectual Property Office are working hard to combat the high levels of fake invoices, and we are supporting them in this as much as we can.
If you are worried you have become a victim to this, contact The Trademarkroom team who can put your mind at ease and confirm the legitimacy of a letter before you are out of pocket.
By Ellis Sweetenham