Unsolicited invoices

Last updated: 
14 August 2017

Once you apply for, or own, an IP right your contact details become publicly available and other organisations may attempt to contact you. Our privacy policy provides information about how we handle your personal information.

If you own a registered intellectual property (IP) right, you may be targetted by companies requesting payment of unsolicited invoices. These invoices are not from IP Australia. They often offer to include your IP right in overseas registers. Others may offer to provide a monitoring or reminder service for your IP right registration.

Invoices from unfamiliar companies, including but not limited to those listed on this page, should be treated with caution, especially where they request payment for unsolicited services. Whatever services might be offered, they bear no connection to IP Australia or any of our official publications.

You are under no obligation to pay their fees.

Check before you pay

If you are in any doubt about an invoice you have received, do not pay the fee until you have checked with IP Australia.You can email a copy of your unwanted or misleading invoice or letter to fraud.control@ipaustralia.gov.au.  Also consider checking with your attorney.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) provides information to consumers and small businesses on their website SCAMwatch to help you recognise, avoid and report scams. You can also contact the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) which has the power to act on scams, and you can contact the Department of Fair Trading in your state.

How to identify unsolicited invoices

Companies that send these invoices are private businesses, not government organisations.They may offer to:

  • register or renew your IP right for a fee

  • publish your patent or trade mark in an international publication or register

  • provide a monitoring or reminder service for your patent or trade mark.

Examples of unsolicited invoices

The following example offers to renew the registration of a trade mark on your behalf. The fee for allowing this organisation to act on your behalf ($1485 for the first class and $650 for each additional class) is a significant mark-up on what you would pay if you renewed the registration yourself ($300 per class): 

 

In the next example this organisation requests a fee to include your trade mark on their database. As stated in their terms and conditions, this is an elective service for a privately-run database that is no substitute for actual registration of your trade mark with IP Australia: 

 

Other unsolicited invoice examples our customers have received:

Sources of unsolicited invoices

Some of the companies known to send unsolicited invoices are:

  • Commercial Centre for Industry and Trade (Switzerland) 

  • Company for Economic Publications Ltd (Austria) 

  • Company for Publications and Information Anstalt (Liechtenstein) 

  • Edition The Marks KFT (Hungary)

  • European Institute for Economy and Commerce (Belgium) 

  • Federated Institute for Patent and Trademark Registry (USA) 

  • Globus Edition SL (Spain) 

  • INFOCOM (Switzerland) 

  • Institute of Commerce, Trade and Commerce (Switzerland)

  • International Patent and Trademark Agency (Czech Republic)

  • International Patent and Trademark Register (Germany)

  • IP Data s.r.o (Czech Republic)

  • IT & TAG (Switzerland) 

  • Objective Concept (France)

  • Patent & Trademark Office Pty Ltd (Melbourne, Vic., Australia)

  • Patent & Trademark Organisation LLC (based in the USA with a street address in Melbourne) 

  • Register of International Patents and Trademarks TM Collection (Hungary)

  • TM-Edition Ltd. (Hungary)

  • TM Worldwide (Hungary)

  • Trade Mark Publishers (based in Austria with a street address in Sydney)

  • Trademark & Patent Publications (based in Poland with a street address in Sydney)

  • UPTS s.r.o (Czech Republic)

  • World Patents Trademarks WIPT s.r.o (Czech Republic)

  • ZDR-Datenregister GmbH (Germany)

Please note this list is not exhaustive. Unsolicited invoices may come from companies that are not on this list.

The World Intellectual Property Organization also provides a list of companies requesting payment from applicants and agents applying under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The services for which these companies demand payment are not mandatory and are unrelated to the official processing of PCT applications.

Unnecessary overseas legal services

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. In this correspondence, they may offer their services if you decide to oppose the 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 don’t want to use your trade mark in that country, then you don’t need to take any action.