Companies posing as trademark registries or authorities are a thorn in the side of trademark owners and trademark offices. We’d like to take this opportunity once again to advise you not to make any payments or provide information to such companies.

The scam has now become all too common place in the IP sector: Trademark holders are invited by letter, e-mail, fax or phone to make payments to acquire or maintain trademark registrations in official sounding registries. However, those registries and the records they relate to are mostly unofficial or inexistent, and the payment requested serves no purpose.

A variation on the above approach are those companies that send IP owners documents that look like invoices – usually they contain the word ‘INVOICE’ in big letters – however, on closer inspection, the document is actually an offer to enter into an agreement. When the invoice is paid, the IP owner finds out that it has entered an agreement for some (unnecessary) services, often at considerable expense.

We advise you therefore to avoid making any payments to companies that provide such 'offers'. Please also note that any correspondence we send to you relating to the IP assets that we manage on your behalf will contain our logo and contact details.

Cyber-squatting scams
There are also instances of fraudulent and misleading correspondence targeting patent, design, copyright and domain name assets. Please be wary of requests for payments or updates in these areas too, even if the correspondence is received from what looks like an official source. Recently, for example, a number of our clients have received ‘offers’ from companies to ‘safeguard’ a domain name. Please ignore such offers, and refrain from providing personal and business details to such parties.