Recently, we have noted an increase in the number of fraudulent invoices being sent to clients relating to patent work. If you receive an invoice that is unexpected or from an unfamiliar entity, please do not pay it without taking further steps. While many of the fraudulent invoices are sent via regular mail, some are sent using email. Typically, the invoices seek payment for various services relating to PCT applications, including registration fees, filing fees, monitoring fees and the like. These invoices request payment be made to a variety of different locales, including Austria, Switzerland, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Iceland, Poland, Slovakia and the US.
We include below an image of an example of an invoice specifically identified by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as fraudulent. Although this and other examples of fraudulent invoices are listed by WIPO, you should not consider the list to be exhaustive. While an invoice may appear to be official, and may list identifying information relating to one of your patent applications—including one or more of the international publication number (e.g., WO 02 xxxxxx), publication date, title of the invention, international application number, priority information and IPC symbols—the invoice may not be legitimate. The identifying information is publicly available, as is your contact information. In some cases the invoices seek payment for services you have already paid for, but in other cases, the invoices seek payment for services you have not requested and/or do not require.
If we coordinate your worldwide patent activities, most (if not all) invoices relating to your patent work will come from us (or the law firm that represents you in a particular matter).
If you receive an invoice that appears suspicious, please review it closely before paying it.