November 16, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 5 Comments

Final Warning: Trademark Scams On The Rise!

trademark-scamsA few months ago I posted an article detailing a common scam attempted when you submit a trademark application with IPO UK. The scam is that you are sent a physical letter via post that is made to look like an invoice from the trademark registration authority:

Alright, I should probably point out that technically (by law) these are not a scam as if you read the small print very carefully you can see that they do mention that the fee you pay is for them to add you to their private directory and that’s it. They don’t actually claim that it has anything to do with your trademark application with IPO UK, which would then make it fraud and illegal.

In my personal opinion, that’s a lot of rubbish and I consider these letters to be a scam 100%. After all, there is no value at all in being registered on their “private database” and the whole formatting of the letter is designed to try and trick people into thinking it’s an official invoice that you need to pay to process your application.

But enough on that, as if you read my previous post you already know my opinion of these “companies”. The question is why am I talking about this again?

Well in the last few weeks I have received a barrage of emails about various variations of this scam that have been attempted on my readers and clients. It seems as if this scam is taking off as it certainly wasn’t at this level before!

So that’s why I want to revisit this topic today and make sure you are aware that you DO NOT have to pay any money to these companies! You gain absolutely no benefit from doing so.

Here are three of the most common letters received, from three different “directories/companies”:

GAIA almanach Ltd

http://www.gaiaalmanach.com/

(Click on the image below to preview in full size)

GAIA-almanachThe first one, GAIA almanach, the “international register of trademarks publication”, is based in Budapest, and they use a PO Box for their address (if that doesn’t scream scam, I don’t know what does!).

They are asking for €1350 for “registration and listing in the Publication 2016 of GAIA almanach”. Of course this point is only mentioned in small writing, amongst a lot of other gibberish, so that you might miss it or misunderstand the meaning.

IPT-Register

http://ipt-register.com/

(Click on the image below to preview in full size)

IPT-RegisterThe second one, IPT-Register, is actually a perfect example of this scam as it really shows you all the little tricks they use to keep this legal. Once again it is a letter sent out via post that has some details (address, trademark, trademark classification etc.) that might make you believe it is something directly related to your recent application.

But careful reading of the small print at the bottom tells you all you need to know! Here are a few highlights for you to read, all quoted word for word:

“We offer the registration of your Trademark dates in our private Database.”

“Please notice that this private registration hasn’t any connection with the publication of official registrations, and is not a registration by a government organization, and we haven’t any business relation yet.”

“This offer is not an invoice but a solicitation without obligation to pay”

I couldn’t put it any better myself!

TPP – Trademark & Patent Publications

http://www.tpp-publication.com/

(Click on the image below to preview in full size)

TPPThis is probably the most convincing scam out of the three, mainly due to the name (which is very official sounding), the layout of the letter, and the usual inclusion of information relating to the actual trademark application (registration number, classification, application date etc.).

But once again the small print reveals all! Reading that you can see that “this form is not an invoice”, that “this is an offer for the annual registration of your Trademark in our internet database”, and that “the registration on our database has not any connection with an official government organization”. Lastly, it’s mentioned that “there is no obligation for you to pay the amount and we have not any business relation yet”.

And there you have it – the three most common trademark scams at the moment.

From the three, GAIA almanach is the more amateurish attempt and might even be bordering on purely illegal, seeing as they don’t specify that they are not connected with any governmental or official organisation (though they may get around this due to the fact that they don’t include as many details of the actual trademark application as the other two scams).

Now I know what some of you may be thinking at this point – “why would anyone ever fall for this!?”

But while it does seem an obvious scam when I go through it like this, you have to think as if you received one of these letters in the post… the timing of it, the information about your actual application, even the warning to pay within X amount of days can all add up to convince you that this is a genuine invoice and not just some cheap scam.

I mean, even looking at the website of IPT-Register and it’s fairly convincing, with some spiel about International IPT Register, patent news and even a quote from the former President of the German Patent Office!

ipt-register-websiteBut hopefully this post will help spread the warning and save some people some money (a lot of money actually!).

Just remember that you do not have to pay anything further other than the application fee that you paid directly to the Intellectual Property Office, which is £170 + £50 for each additional class. And that’s it!

Feel free to email me if you get any such letters sent to you and I can compile and add them to this post in the future.

Until next time!

All the best,
Andrew

5 Comments
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  1. […] have previously covered Trademark Scams on my blog but I haven’t really talked much about actually registering a trademark, the correct […]

  2. Hey Andrew,
    Great post.

    I truck loads of such of letters all the time.

    And you know what I do with bin? Shred and bin

    Save your time and efforts for things more important, I say to myself whenever they come in.

    R.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Send them over to me Raphael so we can add more examples to this post! 🙂

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  3. […] The blog is turning in to a bit of a scam buster site now, as today we have a post all about Alibaba Gold Supplier scams, to follow on from last week’s one on Trademark applications. […]

  4. […] Monday we started with the Trademark Scam warning article and I’m really happy that I published it, even though I did already post a similar one earlier […]

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