21 Nov Trade mark owners targeted with unsolicited invoices
If you have received a request for payment for Trade Mark registration or renewal fees from a company that is not associated with us, please proceed with caution.
Following the filing of a trade mark application, trade mark owners may be targeted by unscrupulous third parties attempting to obtain money through false billing scams.
Unfortunately, it is easy to mistake an unofficial invoice for a real one, as the companies that issue these invoices often appear to be legitimate.
The companies that send out these “scam” invoices access trade mark holders’ details by trawling through information that is publicly available on trade mark registers both in Australia and overseas.
There are several warning signs to look for if you think you may have received a fraudulent notice or invoice. Here are a few red flags:
- The payment they are asking for to renew your trade mark is substantially inflated;
- The payment relates to entering trade mark details on a “register” other than IP Australia’s official trade marks register;
- The invoice is sent from an organisation or business that does not relate to your trade mark attorney or IP Australia;
- The invoice may state that urgent payment is required and may use phrases like ‘this renewal is optional and only acts as a reminder’ and ‘we would like to inform you that we are not IP Australia, and this is not a bill’.
Our advice is that if the invoice has not come from IP Australia, your Trade Mark Attorney or your accountant then it is most likely a scam. For examples of unsolicited invoices and companies known to issue them, visit IP Australia’s website here.
Here at MBIP we usually send request for renewal instructions three months ahead of the renewal deadline – any invoices you receive a year in advance of a renewal deadline may be a scam. In addition to this, we will always advise of registration fees at the outset of a matter.
If you are unsure whether an invoice is legitimate, please send a copy to your Trade Mark Attorney immediately and we will let you know whether the payment request is legitimate. Contact us on 07 3369 2226 or at [email protected].