Spotting fake invoices relating to IP rights

Spotting fake invoices relating to IP rights

What are the tell tale warning signs of a fake invoice relating to IP rights? What should IP owners be mindful of?

 

Warning sign 1: If you have an official and recorded representative, you should not receive any invoices other than those from that appointed party.

 

Warning sign 2: Often the fake invoices will use names, personal information, acronyms and/or logos which are very similar to the official organisations. These invoices will often request payment for a service such as:

 

-          Renewal of your IP rights

-          Publication/Registration of your IP rights

-          Expansion of your IP rights

-          Other IP related services

 

Warning sign 3: Fake invoices will often request payment for publication in an independent database or journal.  These databases have no legal effect - only the responsible Intellectual Property Offices around the world can publish and register IP rights with legal effect.  These are the UKIPO, EPO, WIPO, EUIPO. There is no separate fee for publication of an IP right, as this is an automatic process. 

 

What sorts of invoices relating to IP rights are IP owners  likely to receive directly that are legitimate?

 

If you have an official, recorded representative, you should only receive invoices directly from that party.  Please note, the UK and EP/EU Offices do not issue any invoices directly to applicants. Instead the IP Offices will send a notification which will direct the applicant to the official webpages, where a secure payment can be made. If in doubt on any invoices you receive, check with your IP professional. It’s always better to check an unsolicited or suspicious invoice, before any payment is made.

 

What should IP owners do if you receive a suspicious looking invoice?

 

If you receive an invoice which at all seems suspicious, you should immediately contact your IP professional. In the event you do not have a recorded representative, you can contact the relevant Intellectual Property Office, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) or the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA). Do not use the contact details provided on the invoice.

Examples of misleading invoices and a list of sources can be found on the WIPO website  

 

Do not make payment of any suspicious invoice without first validating its authenticity. If you receive a fraudulent invoice you should report this to Action Fraud. Action Fraud is an online portal, operated by the City of London police, for reporting all types of fraud.

 

Success story

The UK IPO successfully took action against the Intellectual Property Agency (IPA) for TM infringement/passing off. Read the story here.  

If you suspect you have received a fake invoice, let us check it for you. 

Related News

Managing your business-critical IP during the COVID-19 crisis
news

Managing your business-critical IP during the COVID-19 crisis

UK businesses are fighting for survival during the continuing COVID-19 outbreak and trying to trade under difficult conditions, the likes of which haven’t been seen in the living memory of most business people. If you’re afraid that your business is going to the wall, it probably isn’t the top of your mind to pay for a patent application for your new technology or a registration of the trade mark for your brand new clothing range, right?  Where is the money coming from to invest in such luxuries as IP, we hear you say, when staff are being furloughed and orders have been postponed?

Videoconferencing: the future of oral proceedings at the EPO?
news

Videoconferencing: the future of oral proceedings at the EPO?

The European Patent Office has announced that videoconferencing will become the norm for oral proceedings before examination and opposition divisions until at least 15 September 2021. But is this a taste of what the future holds for oral proceedings at the EPO?

EPO-CNIPA pilot for International Search
news

EPO-CNIPA pilot for International Search

On 12 November 2019, the EPO and CNIPA agreed to enhance their bilateral co-operation to give patent applicants filing an international patent application in English at the CNIPA, the choice to opt for the EPO as their ISA. A two year pilot programme launched on 1 December 2020, offers applicants filing international applications with the CNIPA or the International Bureau (IB) of the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) the opportunity to select the EPO as their ISA and as their International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), rather than CNIPA.

Changes to trade mark and patent law in Gibraltar
news

Changes to trade mark and patent law in Gibraltar

In October 2020, the UK Government declared that the territorial effect of five important IP treaties would be extended to cover Gibraltar from 1 January 2021.  These treaties are the Paris Convention, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid Protocol (on International trade marks), the Nice Agreement (on trade mark classification), and the Berne Convention (on copyright). Following on from this, a bill was passed in on 11 December 2020, making some amendments to trade mark and patent law in Gibraltar.

Much Ado About Nothing
news

Much Ado About Nothing

For a long time, a source of tension among UK trade mark and design attorneys was the fact that the UK was one of the few EU member states to abide by a decision to allow attorneys from any European Economic Area country to represent clients in proceedings before any national office of an EU member state.  With this in mind, one of the ironies of Brexit is that, from 1st January 2021, UK trade mark and design attorneys will (in general – please see below for a super-important exception!) lose the right to represent clients before the EU IPO

Messi scores in injury time…..
news

Messi scores in injury time…..

After nine-years (even Sir Alex Ferguson would have struggled to justify that), six time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi, has won a legal battle to register his name as a trade mark.

The impact of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning on the Patent Profession
news

The impact of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning on the Patent Profession

Matthew Veale discusses the impact of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning on the patent profession.

UK IPO announces temporary fee changes
news

UK IPO announces temporary fee changes

The UKIPO has temporarily reduced or removed certain fees associated with patents, trade marks and registered designs until 31 March 2021.

aipex logo aipex logo aipex logo