There is a very significant trade mark scam operation going on right now in New Zealand and elsewhere, involving misleading requests for payment from a third party organisation.

It is not uncommon for third party scammers to contact trade mark applicants directly, posing as legitimate ‘publication’ or ‘government’ organisations. In many cases these scammers make requests for misleading payments. They get trade mark applicants' contact details from official trade mark databases, bypassing their legal representatives.

In the last 48 hours we have had numerous reports of businesses receiving letters from an organisation called ‘IDRTM – International Data Base of Registered Trade Marks’ or ‘TM Publisher’ asking for payment of over $1600. This is not an official government organisation, nor is it an organisation that you should be dealing with. It has no role in protecting your trade marks.

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) has also recently put a notice up on its website about this and other similar scams.