Legal Alerts/8 Mar 2012

Legal Alert – Inappropriate invoices target IPR proprietors

We have received increased reports of clients receiving reminder letters and requests to pay registration or renewal fees for pending or existing trademark or patent applications.

This is to caution trademark proprietors to practice due diligence in relation to all such communications and invoices. As a premise, all valid invoices originate from the trademark attorney and all invoices originating from third parties should be viewed with strong suspicion.

The communications are in most cases sent by companies whose trade names can be easily confused with an official organization, such as “European Central Register of Brands and Patents”. Despite their names, these companies have no connection with the official Trademark Registers managed by the relevant authorities, such as the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland or the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).

Not all communications are made in an outright fraudulent purpose. Some of the communications are on closer inspection phrased as solicitations to purchase an advert in a publication supposedly published by the organization.  As a premise, there is no need whatsoever to purchase such advertising space.

Usually, the reminder letters target proprietors whose registrations are about to expire, have just been granted or are applied for.

In case you have appointed an attorney to take care of your IPR portfolio all correspondence from the official authorities is sent directly to the nominated attorney. Thus if you receive a suspicious invoice or a reminder we recommend that you contact us in order to certify the validity of the document before proceeding with the payments.

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Additional information

Lasse Laaksonen