After directly being targeted by an invoice scam, the UKIPO have issued a warning for all intellectual property rights holders on their website against the payment of unnecessary costs relating to unsolicited invitations offering various IP services.
Generally, the unsolicited invitations are sent directly to the intellectual property right holder and relate to the payment of a fee for registration of a right into a register (not an official patent/trademark office register) or for renewal of an intellectual property right. These invitations are sent from several different companies but usually look official and include details of the intellectual property right e.g. the patent application number, applicant details and title. At best, the invitations work out to be extremely poor value for money (e.g. where offers of renewal services have been made) and at worst request a large payment sum for nothing more than listing an application on an unofficial website.
In addition to the UKIPO, several of our own clients have received similar "invoices" from such companies. In a recent case, almost £3000 was requested for "registering" a patent application on a website. Our advice on this issue is to always check an invoice from an unknown source carefully before making any payment. If in any doubt, forward the invoice to your patent/trade mark attorney, solicitor or lawyer to check its authenticity before making any payment. Intellectual property right holders should be extremely cautious regarding the payment of any invoices relating to IP matters which have not originated from their usual IP advisor. Please do not be caught out and ask for advice if unsure.