The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO), the European Patent Office (EPO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) continue to receive reports of applicants and proprietors being approached for payment by firms fraudulently offering to perform official processing, such as registering patents and publishing patent applications. These so-called scammers often use names, abbreviations and/or logos which are confusingly similar to those used by official offices.
The UK IPO takes this matter very seriously and is taking steps to prevent such firms from misleading the public. The UK IPO was recently successful in its legal action against Intellectual Property Agency Ltd (IPA). IPA was found to be liable of trade mark infringement and passing off and ordered to pay ԣ500,000 plus legal costs (the maximum financial penalty under the circumstances). Further information can be found here. It is hoped that the size of the penalty will discourage other firms from continuing to mislead the public.
For further details on this issue, please see our briefing here and the following links to webpages of the official offices which provide examples of scammers:
UK IPO - www.ipo.gov.uk/warning
EPO - www.epo.org/warning.html
If you are in any doubt about the authenticity of a letter or invoice you have received, please do not hesitate to get in touch with J A Kemp.