Further to ACID’s warnings regarding Trade Mark registration scams, IPKat recently reported on a comment left on Twitter by Shireen Smith (Azrights) who issued a Tweet which read:

“Today 3 clients contacted me about a demand for £573.40 which they’ve received from Community Trade Mark Filing service of Liverpool. Scams”.

Shireen’s statement was picked up here by Class 46, but now it seems that this issue has escalated. Shireen has since received a letter threatening both her and Azrights with defamation proceedings on the basis that this statement was “highly defamatory and/or malicious falsehood designed to damage the reputation of our company in the market place”. CTMFDS was seeking, among other things, an apology, and proposal for payment of damages, failing which they said they would be issuing proceedings. Says Shireen:

“Why a company that chooses a name like Community Trade Mark Service (designed to sound like it is an official body) and style of approach involving the sending pro forma invoices as a way of promoting its trade mark filing service (of converting the UK application to a European trade mark) would object in these terms to the use of the word SCAM to describe their activity is amazing. If 3 clients in one morning get in touch, all wondering whether they have to pay this company, or whether it is a scam, then it’s a scam. The fact that some kind of service is offered in return to those who engage with the company, knowingly or unknowingly, does not alter the fact that it is an attempt to intentionally mislead a person with the goal of financial or other gain. It is also clear from the company’s FAQ pages that they are fully aware of the confusion their style of operating engenders.

ACID advises anyone that has applied for a Trade Mark registration that receives a similar letter, to contact the UKIPO, OHIM or whichever official body to which they have submitted their registration.  If it was not issued by them – shred it!

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