In Poland and EU trademark owners are receiving an increasing amount of unsolicited mail from companies requesting payment for trade mark and design services such as publication, registration or entry in business directories. Usually such mailing or invoices were issued by companies under their own names. The list of the unfair firms names may be found for example on Polish Patent Office or EUIPO website.
Recently, in Poland we face a new situation where the fake registration decisions are sent on a letter reminding official Polish Patent Office letter. The outline of the fake decision reminds the Polish Patent Office decision and the official name Urząd Patentowy RZeczypospolitej Polskiej and the address of the Office is used.
False decisions are deceptively similar to the correct ones, however, they differ in a few basic elements like:
- fee amount (e.g. for the period of protection, 690 pln instead of 90 pln for publication decision to grant rights),
- bank account number on which the money should be transferred and
- period to pay the fee (7 days instead of statutory three- month period to pay the fee).
Please be reminded that if the applicant has a professional representative in application proceeding, the Polish Patent Office will not contact the applicant directly. Any correspondence, including registration decision, will be sent to the representative. Polish Patent Office does not correspond directly with the applicant, in particular with reference to payment for period of protection.
One of our clients received a false decision. Unfortunately he contacted us after paying to the fraud company amount specified in the fake decision. We decided to take quick intervention involving both client and fraud bank. Additionally we involved a police into this case. After hours of hard fight we managed to get the money back.
If you receive a letter or invoice you should check carefully what is being offered to you and whether its source is genuine. If you have any doubts or if you identify any new cases, better check with your legal advisors.