Beware Fake Trade Mark Fees

Beware of fraudulent companies asking for what appear to be official fees for trade mark registration.

We all need to protect our Intellectual Property Rights, especially when things are getting tight in the economy.  Registering Trade Marks is a key part of any protection regime.  But Fraud seems to be on the increase and an old scam has raised its head recently. 

The registration process for any trade mark involves the payment of official fees.  In the UK there is one payment when you apply for a trade mark, in the European Community there is a fee for making the application and a further fee when your trade mark is about to be granted.

Fraudulent companies search the official register looking for applications which look like they are about to be granted.  They then send out a request for payment to protect your trade mark.  It comes on very official notepaper, usually with an official flag of the European Community calling themselves “European Industrial Property Protection”.  These ARE NOT requests for official fees but a ruse to get unsuspecting trade mark applicants to part with their hard earned cash.

If you are making a trade mark application you should only part with your money if the fee request comes from either:

  1. Your agent who is making the application on your behalf
  2. If you are making the application yourself, from the trade mark registry you are applying to. Usually this will be either the UK Intellectual Property Office or The Office for the Harmonization of the Internal Market.

OHIM have helpfully provided a page on their web site, detailing the fraudulent companies that they are aware of, which can be found at the following web address.

http://oami.europa.eu/ows/rw/pages/CTM/feesPayment/fraudCases.en.do

Niall Head Rapson of McDaniel & Co.

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