Unsolicited IP services
We are aware that customers have received invitations from companies offering services to help them protect their intellectual property (IP) rights in return for a fee. You should be wary of unsolicited or fraudulent IP protection, promotional or advertising services.
Before paying a fee for any IP related service, we recommend that you carefully consider what, if any, protection, promotion or other value the service will provide. If you are in any doubt about an invoice you have received check with your patent or trade mark attorney, solicitor, inventors association or with us. If you think your invoice is a scam, it can be reported to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) which has the power to act on scams, and the Department of Fair Trading in your respective state.
Most Australian companies providing support in registration, maintenance, promotion or advertising of IP are reputable. However, you should be cautious when receiving correspondence or responding to invoices regarding your IP.
The companies sending misleading invoices are not linked to any Government or Community institution and you are NOT obliged to pay their fees. Many customers have told us they thought the mail came from an official source and think they have to use, and pay for, the services offered.
The ACCC provides information to consumers and small businesses on their website SCAMwatch to help you recognise, avoid and report scams.
Patent and trade mark registers
If you own a registered patent or trade mark, you may find yourself the target of letters regarding overseas registration of your application. Letters from unfamiliar organisations, especially letters requesting payment for unsolicited services, should be treated with caution.
People who send unofficial invoices/letters may offer to:
- Register or renew your IP Right for a fee
- Publish your patent or trade marks in an international publication or register
- Provide a monitoring service for your patent or trade mark
Whatever services might be offered, they bear no connection to us or any of our official publications. Treat these offers with caution.
If you receive an invoice or letter that you believe is misleading we would like to hear about it. You can email us a copy of your unwanted/misleading invoice or letter so we can display them on our website as a warning to others. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources of unsolicited requests
The following companies have been known to send unsolicited requests:
- Commercial Centre for Industry and Trade (based in Switzerland)
- Company for Economic Publications Ltd (based in Austria)
- Company for Publications and Information Anstalt (based in Liechtenstein)
- Edition The Marks KFT
- European Institute for Economy and Commerce - EIEC (based in Belgium)
- Federated Institute for Patent and Trademark Registry, based in Florida, USA
- Gaia Almanach LTD
- Globus Edition SL (based in Spain)
- I.B.F.T.P.R - International Bureau for Federated Trademark & Patent Register
- INFOCOM (based in Switzerland)
- Institute of Commerce, Trade and Commerce (based in Switzerland)
- International Patent and Trademark Register based in Nurnberg, Germany
- IP Data s.r.o (Czech Republic)
- IT & TAG (based in Switzerland)
- Objective Concept (based in France)
- Patent & Trademark Organisation LLC (based in USA with a street address in Melbourne)
- RIPT - Register of International Patents and Trademarks TM Collection (based in Hungary)
- TM-Edition Ltd. (based in Hungary)
- TM Worldwide (based in Hungary)
- TMP, Trade Mark Publishers, Austria but with a street address in Sydney
- UPTS s.r.o (Czech Republic)
- World Patents Trademarks WIPT s.r.o (Czech Republic)
- ZDR-Datenregister GmbH (based in Germany)
It has happened to us too
Unfortunately, we have also received these unsolicited requests. Here are some examples of the emails we have received.
WIPO also provides a list of companies requesting payment from PCT applicants and agents which are unrelated to the processing of international applications under the PCT.
You may receive correspondence from an overseas lawyer or attorney firm informing you that someone has applied to register your trade mark in another country and offering their services if you decide to oppose registration.
This is a legitimate service but may only be relevant if you intend to use your trade mark in that particular country. If you have no such intention you do not need to take any action.
Invitations are often issued as official-looking invoices, some examples are listed below:
UPTS - Universal Patents and Trademarks Service
Published on May 22, 2014
IPT PATENTS - Register of International Patents
Published on February 19, 2014
FOIP - Federated Organization for Intellectual Property
Published on February 6, 2014
Last Updated: 25/8/2014