Beware, Trade Mark Scam!

Beware, Trade Mark Scam!

Beware of unsolicited letters about trade mark registration or renewal asking for large sums of money, as you may be the target of a trade mark scam.  These letters from unfamiliar organisations, which have no connection with IP Australia, should be treated with caution.

When you apply for a trade mark (or another IP right) your details (name, address and trade mark information) become publicly available for others to see including opportunistic scammers.  As this information is publicly available, under the Privacy Act, IP Australia is not accountable to you for any fraudulent or unsolicited contact.

Identifying unsolicited invoices

Unsolicited invoices tend to offer to:

  • register or renew your IP right for a fee. The amount of money generally asked for is about $1,000;
  • publish your patent or trade mark in an international publication or register, or provide a monitoring service for your patent or trade mark. This is not an official service provided by IP Australia; and
  • come from an overseas organisation or business that does not relate to IP Australia. Examples of these organisations or businesses include Commercial Centre for Industry and Trade (Switzerland), International Patent and Trademark Register (Germany), and TM Worldwide (Hungary).

Examples of unsolicited invoices

The following example from Trademark & Patent Publications requests a fee to include your trade mark on their database.  You will note that this notice relates to our trade mark registration of Lawbase.  It just goes to show that not even lawyers are safe from these scams.

What to do if you have received an unsolicited invoice

If you are unsure about an invoice you have received, do not pay the fee until you check with us the authenticity of the correspondence.

You can report the scam to IP Australia by emailing a copy of the invoice or, alternatively, contact the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) via its website SCAMwatch to determine whether you have received a legitimate notice.

Please contact us to determine whether you have received a legitimate notice.  We would be happy to assist you.