We receive quite a lot of queries from our trade mark clients asking us whether various official-looking “invoices”, “letters” or “orders” requiring them to pay additional fees for their already registered trade marks are legitimate. Most of these come from either Hungary or Switzerland. The short answer is NO!
We can see how it is easy to be misled – the letters contain invented reference numbers, sometimes are bilingual and mention “international trade mark registers/catalogues.” These companies take advantage of the public information available on the websites of trade mark offices (like IP Australia). If you are the owner of a trade mark or an application, your and your trade mark lawyer’s name and address appear on the register. Your address is then targeted for these unsolicited communications – many of which are fraudulent.
If in doubt, always contact your lawyer or your trade mark attorney. IP Australia and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) provide useful lists of companies that send out unsolicited communications. Some of them include TM Collection, TM Worldwide, TM Edition.
For more information, please contact Mindaugas Skavronskas, lawyer and trade marks attorney.