Warning Notice – Scam Payment Letters

Warning Notice – Scam Payment Letters

Have you received a letter out-of-the-blue recently from an unfamiliar agency asking you to pay a fee to register your European Patent application?

Here are two examples (example 1 and example 2) of official looking letters recently received by one of our clients.  One letter is from the World Patent & Trademark Agency, and the other is from the European Intellectual Property Agency (EIPA).  Both agencies are offering to register our client’s European patent application upon payment of a fee.

These letters appear genuine, but they are not – they are scams.  These so-called “agencies” are actually private companies who will monitor the European Patent Register for any recently published European patent applications, and then use the freely available bibliographic information to directly target Applicants.

These scams are not limited to European patent applications – they can be directed towards any pending or granted patents and trademarks in your portfolio; and they may instead offer to publish or renew your rights in exchange for a fee.

What to look out for?

A scam letter can usually be identified by the following tell-tale signs:

  • In the fine print, the company will admit that the service provided is not related to any government entity. The services offered will therefore have no legally binding effect.

 

  • Also look out for poor spelling and grammar throughout the letter, in particular in the fine print.

 

  • Any official communications relating to your IP will normally be directed to your IP provider, but these scam letters are sent directly to you.

 

  • The letter will usually be issued shortly after publication of your application or patent. You may receive several letters around the same time from different “agencies” all offering the same or similar services in exchange for a fee.

 

What to do?

If you receive a request for payment from an unfamiliar source, do not pay any fees until you can confirm the source is genuine.  In the first instance we would recommend immediately forwarding the letter to your usual IP provider for advice. 

Our client followed best practice and immediately brought these two letters to our attention, and we were therefore able to advise them not to pay any of the fees.

Christina Schiavone, UK Patent Attorney & European Patent Attorney

Related News

news

Coronavirus - UK IPO, EPO and EU IPO extensions and support

A simple overview of the current status from IPOs. Last updated 18th May 2020. 

Is it unethical to patent?
news

Is it unethical to patent?

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted many companies to invest time and effort in developing technology that is aimed at helping care for, test, or treat people suffering from the disease. In normal times, these might be considered normal commercial activities and would be considered for patenting without a second thought. However, the fact that these developments are typically not being motivated by pure commercial gain, but by a desire to do something for the public good causes many companies to question whether or not they should seeks patents or any other form of intellectual property protection.

EBA issues decision on the patentability of plants and animals
news

EBA issues decision on the patentability of plants and animals

On 14 May 2020, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) at the European Patent Office (EPO) issued its much-awaited decision G 3/19 on the patentability of plants and animals, otherwise known as “Pepper”.

news

Morgan Motors Case Study

Morgan Motor Company originally thought their most important asset was their range of hand built sports cars, after working Wynne-Jones, they realised their most important asset was their brand.

UPDATE - UK IPO support for those affected by Coronavirus
news

UPDATE - UK IPO support for those affected by Coronavirus

Exceptional extensions of time limits at the EUIPO to end on 18 May 2020.

The Executive Director of the EUIPO has announced that the all time limits on trade mark and design matters at the EUIPO expiring between 9 March 2020 and 17 May 2020 will expire on 18 May 2020. The EUIPO is not extending these time limits further.

If you have any questions then please get in touch with your usual Wynne-Jones contact.

BREAKING NEWS - German Federal Constitutional Court decides on UPC complaint
news

BREAKING NEWS - German Federal Constitutional Court decides on UPC complaint

The German Federal Constitutional Court has now issued its long-awaited decision (source) in case  2 BvR 739/17 which was a complaint against the German Ratification Law under which Germany was to ratify the UPC.

EPO announces extensions to deadlines due to COVID-19
news

EPO announces extensions to deadlines due to COVID-19

On Sunday 15 March 2020 the EPO published a notice advising it is invoking the provisions of Rule 134(2) EPC, and has extended all periods expiring on or after publication of the notice to 17 April 2020. This may be extended by the EPO upon publication of a further notice.

EUIPO extends all deadlines for Community Design and European Union Trade Marks
news

EUIPO extends all deadlines for Community Design and European Union Trade Marks

Last updated: 30 April 2020

The Executive Director of the EUIPO has today (29 April 2020) issued a decision regarding extensions for all time limits on trade mark and design matters at the EUIPO. In accordance with these decisions, all time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 17 May 2020 inclusive are extended until 18 May 2020.

 

aipex logo aipex logo aipex logo