When trade mark applications are accepted anywhere in the world they are published in the relevant official journal, most of which are now available online.

For a number of years, there have been a range of companies that review legitimate journals and send false invoices to trade mark owners offering to include the recently accepted or registered trade marks in fictional registers or other publications for a fee. In the past, this fee was generally around USD$1000. More recently, the fee is AUD$1450. The invoices often include your full trade mark details and look authentic.

The intention is clearly that a trade mark owner will mistakenly believe the invoice has been legitimately issued by the relevant Trade Marks Office and must be paid to finalise registration of the trade mark or to renew it. This is not correct.

The IP Australia website lists the following companies involved in this practice although this list should not be regarded as exhaustive:

  • TMP, Trade Mark Publishers, Austria but with a street address in Sydney
  • Commercial Centre for Industry and Trade (based in Switzerland)
  • Company for Economic Publications Ltd (based in Austria) • Company for Publications and Information Anstalt (based in Liechtenstein)
  • Edition The Marks KFT
  • European Institute for Economy and Commerce - EIEC (based in Belgium)
  • Globus Edition SL (based in Spain)
  • INFOCOM (based in Switzerland)
  • Institute of Commerce, Trade and Commerce (based in Switzerland)
  • IT & TAG (based in Switzerland)
  • TM Collection (based in Hungary)
  • ZDR-Datenregister GmbH (based in Germany)
  • I.B.F.T.P.R - International Bureau for Federated Trademark & Patent Register
  • RIPT - Register of International Patents and Trademarks
  • Gaia Almanach LTD
  • International Patent and Trademark Register based in Nurnberg, Germany
  • RIPT - Register of International Patents and Trademarks

TMP, Trade Mark Publishers, Austria appears to be the latest entrant in this scam. It also appears to be the most active recently with a number of our clients having reported receiving invoices from this company.

We recommend you warn your accounts team that this type of invoice is not legitimate and that they should check with you, your legal department or your trade mark lawyer before paying trade mark invoices from third parties.