News & Insights

Have you received a fake trade mark renewal notice

Rogue traders have been sending fake trade mark renewal notices out to unsuspecting companies and individuals demanding inflated trade mark renewal fees. Do you know how to spot one?

The scammers send the notices shortly before trade marks are up for renewal. The notices look official and most recipients are likely to believe that they are genuine as they contain details of the existing trade marks and demand payment of a fee.

We regularly register trade marks and often receive renewal notices for our clients as their registered office and have been surprised by the quality of the fake letters. To the unsuspecting eye, these documents look so convincing that there is a real risk that many companies or individuals will be lured into paying the often inflated fees. After all, trademarks are only renewed every 10 years and so the format of the paperwork is not something that most people are familiar with.

How can you tell if you have been targeted? The rule is simple. The only entities that should be communicating with you about renewing your trademarks are:

  • IPO (The Intellectual Property Office) for UK trademarks; and
  • OHIM (The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market) for European Community trademarks.

Details of some of the rogue traders that have tried to take advantage of this scam are listed on the OHIM website.

If you think you may have been approached by a rogue trader or are unsure how to respond to a request for a trade mark renewal notice, official or otherwise, please contact Cathrine Ripley who will be happy to discuss it with you.