Trade Marks – Beware of fraudulent renewal notices/invoices

If you receive an invoice from any third party, other than your trade mark or design agent, be careful; it may be a scam to get money from you! For our clients, any requests for payments will come directly from us. 

Registered trade mark/design proprietors are receiving an increased amount of unsolicited correspondence from third parties requesting payment for certain services relating to the publication, registration, and renewal of trade marks/designs. Such requests should only come from existing agents, the UK IPO or EU IPO (if the rights holder manages its own trade mark and design rights).

The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA), which represents the interests of trade mark and design attorneys, is raising awareness of this dishonest behaviour in the industry. Recently, CITMA received a renewal reminder from 'SYP' offering to renew their ‘ITMA’ UK trade mark for £2,300. However, this was clearly an error of judgment on SYP's behalf as the scam was quickly spotted by the leading trade mark and design attorney organisation in the country. They were aware that not only was the price ridiculously high, but the trade mark itself was not due for renewal until May 2020 (with the usual practice to send reminders out six months prior to renewal). Also, CITMA had taken action against SYP previously, after it had been writing to EU trade mark owners offering to file identical UK applications.

Following receipt of this most recent round of letters, CITMA have again written to SYP and are currently awaiting a response. CITMA are liaising with the UK IPO regarding any further developments.

What should I do if I receive a letter?

If you receive any correspondence concerning your registered trade mark or design, check that it has come from your existing trade mark or design agent in the UK or EU, or if you manage your own rights, the relevant trade mark registry. You should not pay any fees to any other party.

Should you receive a letter from SYP or any other correspondence regarding your trade marks that you suspect may be fraudulent, please do not sign and return it. Please forward it to us for our review in the first instance, and, if it turns out to be a scam, we will forward it to CITMA for further investigation.

For more information contact Charlene Nelson at [email protected] or Paul Cox at [email protected].