In the last week we have fielded a significant number of enquiries regarding the legitimacy of an unsolicited letter/invoice requesting payment for the publication of the owner’s trade mark.
These are effectively scam notices as there is no legal requirement for trade mark owners to arrange for their trade marks to be published independently in New Zealand. Publication is part of the process of registering a trade mark and is handled by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ).
This scam is being run by an organisation called IDRTM- International Database of Registered Trade Marks. The letter looks official and includes a New Zealand postal address and a New Zealand bank account. There is also reference to the name “TM Publisher” and the fee for publication is $1,638.00. The “scammers” appear to have sourced the owners’ contact and trade mark information from the Register of Trade Marks.
More information can be found on the IPONZ website, including an example of various scam notices that are in circulation, here.