Anyone who has filed a trademark application in Europe or Asia, whether directly or through legal counsel, knows that following the filing, they will receive a number of unsolicited letters, e-mails, or other communications from entities offering to provide, for a fee, “services” related to that application ranging from offers to “publish” or “register” the trademark, to listing the trademark in “business directories.”

If you have filed through counsel, you should not be receiving any official correspondence directly from the trademark office with which the application was filed. In such a case, all official communications will be between legal counsel and the specific trademark office, and if any action is required on your part, legal counsel will contact you to discuss what action is needed. Since the senders of these unsolicited communications know this, they make their communications directly to an applicant look very “official,” as if they originated from a trademark office or law firm. Trying to discern whether something you receive is real or fraudulent can be very difficult.

Most of these communications make offers of dubious legitimacy at best and some are outright scams. Therefore, before paying any “fees” demanded in such a communication, we strongly urge you to carefully review the communication and send it to your Mintz Levin trademark attorney or other legal counsel for confirmation of its legitimacy.

The European Community trademark office (the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, or OHIM) has recently issued an alert to trademark owners regarding a new type of scam, whereby parties attempt to send the trademark applicant what appears to be an official invoice coming from OHIM requesting payment. Please note OHIM does not send invoices directly to trademark application or registration owners represented by legal counsel, so any such invoices are fraudulent.

We are writing this urgent alert to advise clients to carefully review any communication they receive purporting to come directly from a foreign trademark office or an unfamiliar foreign law firm soliciting trademark services or payment. If you receive what appears to be an invoice or solicitation from any party other than Mintz Levin or your other established legal counsel, please forward that communication to your trademark attorney for review.