For many ears unscrupulous traders have exploited unwary trademark owners by sending out invoices that look like “official” fee request but are in fact invitations to be included in useless directories of trademark owners. Those scams are now hotting up. The Intellectual Property Office has become aware that a company in Latvia was planning to use the IPO’s own trading name on renewal “reminder” letters asking for money for renewing UK patents and trademarks (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/warning-intellectual-property-office-alerted-to-new-renewal-scam).
This comes hot on the heels of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court decision in the case of Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills v Intellectual Property Agency Limited and Harri Mattias Jonasson which concerned the use of an official-looking document requesting payment using the logo below
which looks nothing like the registered logo of the Intellectual Property Office
but seems plausible to the layman. Judge Hacon found that confusion had taken place and damages of £500,000 were awarded against the Defendants.
For guidance on trade mark and patent registration how best to protect your intellectual property against unfair competition and passing off contact Tony Catterall, Head of the Intellectual Property Team at Taylors, on 01254 297900 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Taylors is the only North West based firm to have been appointed as a legal affiliate to the National organisation Anti Copying In Design (“ACID”).
The moral is to be careful of any invoices or renewal notices that look “official”. Do not be tempted to pay any “renewal” fee without first checking with us that it is legitimate.