Jul 15, 2013

Intellectual Property Invoice Scams

We are seeing an explosion of bogus invoices for “International Trademark Registration” that are sent to entities that have recently registered trademarks with the United States Patent Trademark Office (“USPTO”). Close inspection of the invoices will reveal that the invoices are actually for inclusion of the registered trademark in a database maintained by the entity issuing the invoice. Inclusion of a trademark in such databases establishes no international rights, and inclusion provides no value to the trademark owner. The names of several entities issuing such bogus invoices and acronyms for the names of such entities are set forth below.

  • Central Patent & Trademark Database (CPTD)
  • Globex World Organization Intellectual Property (WOIP)
  • Organization Data Management (ODM)
  • Register of International Patents and Trademarks (RIPT)
  • Registration of International Patent (WIPT)
  • Universal Patents and Trademark Service (UPTS)
  • Worldwide Database of Trademarks and Patents (WDTP)

The bogus invoices are not limited to international registers for trademarks but are also directed to international registers for patents. Copies of several bogus redacted invoices can be viewed here and copies of other bogus invoices may be found here.

Generally, your company should not directly receive an invoice from an entity other than your law firm for international registration of your company’s intellectual property. If your company receives such an invoice or communication, do not pay it. Instead, refer the invoice to your company’s law firm. The Office for Harmonization in the International Market (“OHIM”) has warned about the above practices and a listing of most “organizations” issuing such bogus invoices may be found on the web site of the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”). The OHIM warning reads:

If you receive a letter or an invoice please check carefully what is being offered to you, and its source.  Please note that the OHIM never sends invoices to users or letters requesting direct payment for services.

If you have questions about the subject matter of this alert or about an invoice received by your company, contact your Intellectual Property attorneys at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

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