Protecting our clients in more ways than one
Over the past year a growing amount of businesses are targeted by unofficial Intellectual Property (IP) organisations. We often receive scam invoices attempting to charge our clients for IP registrations and renewals at inflated fees. These unsolicited invoices are most common around trade mark or patent renewal dates.
How do people get caught out?
These unsolicited invoices are becoming very convincing. To a person that isn’t familiar with the official IP organisations around the world, they would appear to be legitimate. It can also be difficult for businesses to keep track of renewals if you have multiple filings in many countries, especially since patent renewals only come around every 12 months and trade marks every 10 years.
The companies that send out these invoices access trade mark holder’s details by trawling through information that IP Australia and other international IP offices publish to comply with governing legislation.
At Wynnes we collectively save our clients tens-of-thousands of dollars every week by avoiding scams like these.
One of the main reasons we list the Wynnes office address for all our client filings is to protect their details from unsolicited contact. We receive all official and unofficial correspondence for our clients’ matters, giving them peace-of-mind that the only correspondence they need to act upon comes from a single source.
However, some scammers are aware of IP firms protecting their clients’ details and are now searching company websites and online directories to find a direct mailing address. If you receive an unfamiliar renewal or filing notice, contact us immediately.
How to spot a scam?
Companies that issue these invoices often have official sounding names, but a quick google search will tend to reveal they are not. The fine print is often a giveaway. In order to stay on the right side of the law, these companies often hide the truth in the fine print, using phrases like ‘this renewal is optional and only acts as a reminder’ and ‘this is exclusively an offer’.
IP Australia has listed some of the companies known to send Unofficial trade mark invoices:
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also provides a list of companies requesting payment for patent registration and renewals:
Regardless of whether you are an existing client or not, Wynnes can advise on any suspicious IP correspondence that you receive.
Being a small or medium size business (SME) does not mean you need to be left behind.
Know what you need to protect...
Before deciding on a business name, make sure it can be trade marked and whether it conflicts with any existing trade mark/s.
We also have a short attorney FAQ guide to assist you in preparing for the initial meeting and make it more valuable for you.
Your first consultation is free of charge.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
"I felt so comfortable with Philipp and with the team at Wynnes, that I didn’t need or want to go anywhere else for IP advice and protection."
"A friend of mine strongly recommended to see Ewen. As soon as I met with him and started discussing my idea, I knew that I was in capable hands."
"When we came to the office and showed Philipp a prototype, he really grasped the product and concept without having to double explain things which was great."
"It’s different for the little guys, being a small business and protecting your idea is quite expensive. Ewen understood that. Instead of trying to explain things in legal terms – he introduced the commercial way."