Trade Mark Owners Beware – False Requests For Money

Owners of registered trade marks and trade mark applicants have recently become targets for fraudsters seeking to extort money or bank details under false pretences.

When a person or company applies to register a trade mark, their name and address appear on the UK or Community trade marks registry (depending on whether it is a UK or Community trade mark). These records are publicly available. Scammers take advantage by sending out misleading communications. These can suggest the applicant or owner must make a payment to progress or protect their registration or application. Some of these communications are very convincing. Some even may include the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) or Office for Harmonisation of the Internal Market (OHIM)’s name or logo.

To avoid being conned trade mark owners can take the following steps:

  • understand the full costs of applying for or renewing a trade mark;
  • be aware application and renewal fees are payable up front; therefore any request for further funds should be treated as highly suspicious; and/or
  • consider appointing a representative who will liaise directly with the Trade Mark Registry.

Hamlins act as trade mark representatives for trade mark owners and applicants in a wide range of business sectors. If you have instructed Hamlins, any genuine correspondence will have been sent to us. If you receive any correspondence relating to your trade mark, please forward it on to your usual contact at Hamlins or trademarks@hamlins.co.uk. We can then verify if it is authentic and advise you as to the trade mark’s status.

For more information, please contact our Intellectual Property Team.