July 6, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 97 Comments

*** WARNING *** – Trademark SCAMS!!!

trademark-scamsI hope everyone is okay, and not struggling too much with the sudden heat we’ve been having!

Today I wanted to post a quick warning to people who are registering, or are thinking about registering, a trademark. There are many scams attempted around this process and, very recently, one of my 60 Day Blueprint students received what I call “a scamming attempt”:

scam-letter

Basically, here’s what happened – one week after my client submitted a trademark registration application, he received this letter that states that he has to pay 1370 EUR for his application to go through – to a bank account in Poland.

The letter was well formatted, coming from TPP – Trademark & Patent Publications.

If you check the small print and their website, basically they are doing nothing illegal – you pay that fee of 1370 EUR for your trademark to be included in their database. So technically it’s all within the law.

My guess is that they look out for new trademark applications/registrations and send out such letters in the hope of getting paid. And I’m 100% sure that a small percentage of people who receive such a letter will fall for this scam and indeed send 1370 EUR in the mistaken believe that this is directly related to their application with the IPO.

And that’s understandable, – after all the timing of this letter (just a few days after submitting your application) as well as how it looks (formatting and presentation) can easily make you believe that this “invoice” is related to your trademark application and you have to pay it.

Just don’t.

Don’t EVER pay any such mysterious invoice that you receive in the post from God knows who!

When you apply for a trademark online, via the official website, you pay your fee of £170 (first class, each additional class – £50) with a debit/credit card and nothing else needs to be paid for!

https://www.gov.uk/register-a-trademark

You just fill out the application, pay and wait for an official reply from IPO (Intellectual Property Office) with the outcome of your application.

I hope this warning helps!

Enjoy the week ahead!

Andrew

97 Comments
Click Here to Leave a Comment

  1. Thank you Andrew, your post is very informative. My question is how do they get all the personal details. That’s the scariest part?!? My personal address, name, name to be registered. Would you know?! Many thanks.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      This information is published online, on the IPO website as soon as your new trademark application gets published.

  2. Hi

    Thank you for the info. Just to share my observation.

    I too received the same letter about my recent registration but rightly so I just ignored it. However it brings out the issue about trademarking is only limited to a particular region or country.

    Basically, if you want to trademark your product in Europe, China or anywhere else, you have to register with the authority of that particular country. If you were an international organisation, such as Coca-Cola, that’s fine, they can afford to trademark their sugary-drink in every country. But if you are an individual, then it becomes impossible. Of course, someone in another country can take out my trademark and register it else where and I can’t do anything about it. Hence, these scam organisations flourish. As you pointed out, some unsuspected one will fall into this trap.

    Even the legal authorities themselves are to blame because they want your or my money too so to protect the trademark owned you or me – it’s not free, you know! So they too flourish on it. Sure someone should look at a system in place to stop people from trademarking your design in different countries. Shouldn’t it? Then once and for all. I did think about trademarking my product in different countries $747 in China and $156 in India, etc. See what I mean about they could just charge whatever they like.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jacky,

      Thanks for your comment.

      What you’re saying is true. But let’s not forget that business as such is not for everyone, so we can’t blame everyone else for the fact that we don’t have enough money to protect our IP across the globe.

      I don’t know where you’re from but in EU most IP registration companies offer EU wide registration packages. They still are expensive but a lot less expensive compared to registering a trade mark in each country separately.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Andrew

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m from the UK, which will soon leave Europe. You are right that trademark in Europe is expensive at Euro850. For a small idea it’s not worth it.

        The fact is that once you can put ‘TM’ next to your trademark, people will ‘probably’ think twice about trademarking the same thing, except of course some big organizations or scammers who may try to steal it by trademarking it elsewhere. It’s up to them, I’m not in war with them. But because I trademark it first, then it ‘may’ make the difference.

        Thanks,
        Jacky

  3. James Taylor-Loftus

    Hi, Andrew. For your information and that of your readers, WOTRA (World Organization for Trademarks) is still sending out such invoices in the manner you describe in your article. Below is a copy of an email I have sent to various official bodies –

    ‘I noted on your website an article (dated 5 May 2016) titled “Bin fake invoice from World Organisation for Trademarks” and thought I’d let you know that my partner and I have just received (11 March 2017) such an invoice from this organisation. This was undoubtedly triggered by our recent application to the Intellectual Property Office in the United Kingdom for the registration of our business trademark. It is sad to think that nearly a year after your article release that this organisation is still operating and attempting to fleece the unwary.

    The invoice is in English throughout (apart from the organisation’s address) and it is an almost exact replica of the image shown in your article. The amount of money requested on our invoice is £946.00 GBP (compare this to the £200.00 GBP total that we will pay the IPO for our legally registered mark). The beneficiary (recipient) is still shown as WOTRA Kft., with an address of P.O. Box 221, 9002 Györ 2, HU.

    The invoice included an image of the mark (logo) that we had submitted to the IPO. It also had a barcode scan image, under which was repeated the reference number they had supplied. The rear of the invoice contained a twelve-point small print listing in English, repeated in three other languages.

    Having checked online, I note that WOTRA’s scam website is still functioning.

    I hope that this information assists your organisation. Naturally, we are not going to act on the invoice in any way, other than to pass it to the UK Intellectual Property Office for their information, and in order for them to advise UK trade mark applicants.

    With kind regards.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us James!

      Yes, these companies are still doing this “scam” – I have myself recently received several of these after a new trademark application. I don’t think IPO can act on these companies in any way as from legal stand point, they’re just invoicing you for including your trademark in their data base. Obviously we all know that it is still a misleading scam but from legal stand point, they’re not breaching any laws as far as I know.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  4. I just received one of these. The price has gone up to 1560 euro.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Inflation 🙂

  5. Just got the same letter today asking for 1560 usd. It made me laugh! It’s all written in the fine print on the fake “invoice”. TOTAL SCAM!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      It is a scam indeed! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the advice. Just received this the other day as well and was doing research on it and found your post. That was enough for me to stop.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Giuseppe! 🙂

  7. Suzanne Sweenie

    Thanks for your advice! Probably one of the most professional scams I’ve seen – no spelling or grammatical errors which (for me anyway) can be spotted a mile off!
    Quite crafty too the way they have the ‘disclaimer’ in the footer in tiny, grey font.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Suzanne! 🙂

  8. Just got an invoice for 1560,00USD from the same group. Wish it had a phone number so I could chew someone out. Located in Poland it seems.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I got 4 in last month alone, after registering a new trade mark.

      This is getting fun!!!

  9. Got a 4th invoice today from these Scammers. I have started a file for them under “S” for “Scammers”
    Want to see exactly how many they send to me, and if they send “late notices” or anything if we do not respond to the initial ones they sent

    Thanks for creating this Page! Very informative and Hrelpful

    1. Andrew Minalto

      LOL, that’s very good, I like it! 🙂

      I should also create the “S” folder!

      Andrew

  10. I love you! Just got one in the mail today. It’s that gut feeling that something was wrong. I was still definitely going to call USPTO to verify. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Sincerely,
    Stephanie

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Stephanie!

  11. Just got one requesting $1560 USD today. I knew it was a scam when the letterhead wasn’t even from the US patent office let alone the destination to send my money was to Koszalin Poland.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, most of these companies are registered in Europe.

      Good to hear you’re saved! 🙂

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  12. just got one of these “invoices” today 3 of them actually for a company my Boss recently started. My Spidey-sense tingled and i put the invoice aside to investigate this. Thanks for the info-

    Set aside Fake Invoice to see if they try and send us anything else

    Always listen to your Gut and look into if you doubt

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Christine! 🙂

  13. I fell for this. Cost me nearly £1k. Should have known better. Nothing I can do now. Always remember to check out anything you’re pretty sure you weren’t expecting to have to lay. Lesson learned.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Sorry to hear that Nikki….

  14. Thank you! I got this letter and was very suspicious and looked them up and found your article! Saved me 1500$ ?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Matt! 🙂

  15. Roma Reynolds-Platt

    Hi.. I’ve opened a business I’m a nurse and a myself and another nurse have started a laser hair removal business. I was having a relationship with a married man at the time and he did me a business plan as a gift .. We agreed to have the website built by him. The relationship broke down and the website was not as we wanted so we had another built. He has now invoiced us for £3.600 for plan and website stating that if we pay for the plan it’s cheaper than the sting for the trademark .. He has sent me 2 copies one is the .gov and the other comes from the World organisation for trademarks and £896 .. He has sent me a pic of this invoice he states he has paid but will waver if we pay the £3.600 .. Is this a valid invoice. I do not know where to turn for help
    Thank you
    Roma Reynold-Platt

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I really can’t help with this situation as I don’t know the whole story behind it.

      One thing that I would recommend is to check online if your trademark is registered at all?

      https://www.gov.uk/search-for-trademark

      Even if it is, I still don’t understand why you have to pay him anything.

      This is a personal situation I’m sure you wouldn’t explain in detail on a public website.

      Andrew

  16. Patricia Dattolo

    Thank you for this information. I almost paid this because I thought it was real. I was so upset because I already paid for the application fee and we are just a small business and can’t afford a $1560.00 filing fee. This should be illegal.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Patricia! 🙂

  17. Ana R Guerrero

    Thank you for the info! I received one of these today. I knew it was a Scalp straight away as I had already received an answer from the official trade mark office.

    Good luck to everyone in this sea full of sharks!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Ana!

      Another one saved 🙂

      Andrew

  18. Nicola Burvill

    We today received the same document for a trademark asking us to pay £860.00. Read the small print and also the layout and grammar of the document alerted us. Definitely a scam.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      yep!

      And from number of comments this post gets, it seems to be a VERY popular scam!

      I just hope everyone sees this.

      Andrew

  19. Robbin D'Alo

    Thanks! BTW, the scam I got wasn’t for 1370 EUR. It was for 1393 EUR or $1,560! Inflation? In any case, I wouldn’t fall for crap like this even if it was only $10. When it was over $1,500 it was so outrageous I had to check it out! Besides, we aren’t going divorce mediation in Europe!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome!

  20. Thanks Andrew, Kris too. I received exactly same letter, amount USD 1560.00 with their bank account. I was suspicious but waved. TKS

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome James! 🙂

  21. Thanks for posting this letter is a scam. I received the same notice asking to wire USD 1560,00. I was wondering if this was fraud as it looked official, yet at the same time seemed a little off.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Kris!

  22. Thank u.. I received this very letter type yesterday. However; I felt a little suspicious because of the amount. N yet the letter is well formatted it just looked suspicious. So I began internet searching and nothing worth while came up..then I visited this sight through Google..thank u for posti g this vital I formation..

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Queen! 🙂

  23. I just received a letter from WOTRA (World Organization for Trademarks) and it’s saying I need to pay 896,00 GBP I’m guessing this is a scam as well?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jonny,

      Yes, of course it’s a scam!

      Do not pay them anything!

      Andrew

  24. Thanks for posting this. Just had a letter like this through and you’ve saved me a headache. Its just gone through the shredder.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Dan! 🙂

      Andrew

  25. Thanks for posting this. I just received this letter, requesting $1,560 USD, and it does look official. They even had our logo on there!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Erica!

  26. Hi! Thanks for this. I just received this as me invoice here in uk. The billing company is based in Hungary. I was suspicious so thought I’d check it out. The amount is £896. What a scam!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I’m glad you found my post! 🙂

    2. Hi Anu,

      Was this from WOTRA by any chance?

  27. Hi Andrew – I received exactly one of these in AUSTRALIA just a couple of weeks after lodging my application. What I don’t understand is how they get the information in the first place, if my information hasn’t even yet been published? Surely the IP Australia wouldn’t have a affiliation with them to share information?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      When you submit your trademark registration application, it gets published online.

      That’s where they get those details from.

      Andrew

  28. Vicky Mitchell

    Yep I got one for US$ 1560.00. We have gone through an agent to get ours done and I asked them what this invoice was. They immediately replied saying don’t pay, it’s nothing to do with our application.

    If you read the small writing at the bottom, it does state that it is only an offer of annual subscription to their database. However, the way it is laid out with TRADEMARK REGISTRATION in large letters is very misleading

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Another one saved! 🙂

      Yes, it is very misleading indeed but technically they don’t do anything illegal I guess.

      Andrew

  29. Thank you so much for this! I received a letter exactly like this, recently, and I’ve been trying to figure out why! I was so frustrated because I had already paid a substantial amount of money during the application process. I am relieved that this is a scam, and that you (and this article) informed me before I ended up paying even MORE money. Sneaky, sneaky!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Great to hear you spotted this on time Megan! 🙂

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  30. Morris Clyburn

    Hello my name is Morris every one callsome me mo thanks for this is i just received one of these in it seem fishy to me so I was looking into and was found this thanks for watching out sad world we live in i guess some people really don’t care about others .

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Morris!

  31. Thank you so much , just had the exact same letter and could’ve been very vulnerable but this article helped. Thank you.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  32. Thank you for this article! I just opened this letter 10 minutes and I about fell out of my chair when I saw an invoice for $1560 to be paid within 10 days. It didn’t seem right to me so I immediately went online to research which brought me to this site. What a relief to find out it’s not a legitimate invoice. I hope others take the time to research as well. Thank you!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Allison! 🙂

  33. Charlene Beckett

    Hi just got one of those TPP letter for £860.I wish I could send them back something in the post!! but I think I will reply by email and they will be sorry they ever thought of send it to me. Thank you for highlighting this, as a small business starting up there are so many pitfall and hurdles without this( legal ) scam.
    again many thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Charlene!

  34. Just a heads up that this scam is also being run by the same org here in the states. my offer was 1,560. a pretty odd number.

    also, they now have a disclaimer in the bottom of the invoice. it says that the letter is an “offer” not an invoice. it goes on and on, and basically says that when you send payment (check or wire) you now have submitted to a binding contract.

    that thousand dollar fee…know what it’s for? it’s so they’ll list you in their database. I would encourage people to contact me…and for only $500…less than HALF of the Polish TPP…I will list you in my crappy access database sitting on a 1998 Dell desktop that my dog uses as a chew toy.

    Also, note that the disclaimer that I mentioned is in small GREY font at the bottom of the invoice. If you don’t look carefully, you’ll miss it.

    Everything else, including payment data is, of course, in bright bold black ink.

    What a collection of sleaze bags. Amazing that no one has shut them down. Poland isn’t exactly Kyrgzstan for pete’s sake.

    stay safe!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us Ryan!

      I hope all people get to see this post before making any payments to these companies.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  35. I just received this as well shortly after applying for a TM. Thanks for relieving my fear, upon closer inspection this does look like one of those types of correspondence that you can get caught in paying if you think someone else owns the TM.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Good to hear that Jeff!

  36. I just received the exact same letter. It SCREAMS scam! The amount I am suppose to pay is 1,560 though 🙂
    The moment I registered my trademark I received an email from this place, and I just ignored it…then I get this letter. I hope no one falls for this!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us!

    2. We just received a handful of letters just like the sample letter as well. These letters are making it all the way to Canada. They are asking for $2015,00 CAD per trademark. I hope people research before paying these guys. Insane!!

  37. I have received 2 exact letters like this this morning …so glad I checked it out first , and it’s reassuring that we have people like yourselves that put this out there .
    Much appreciated ….I’ve just saved $4160

    Sophia

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Sophia!

  38. I have received the exact same letter as the photo above. Mine was for $2080 AUD from Poland. But the stamp is from swiss post?? As I was reading it didn’t sound right something was off. Like others I had used the web to find them and then found you. Thankyou for warning people to be aware. It just goes to show how many others wouldn’t think twice and pay it. I have just ignored the letter and passed it on to my lawyer which is filing my trademark. Is there any way to stop these people?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us!

      I don’t think we can stop these people, no, because in the eye of law, they’re not doing anything illegal – they just offer your company/IP to be included in their paid directory, that’s it.

      Andrew

  39. I received two now. One from Poland and another one from Slovak Republic. The rates fluctuate. The first one was over €1000 and the second £705. There is a competition among scammers.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yeah, these are becoming more and more popular!

      Thanks for sharing!

      Andrew

  40. Looks like their rates have gone up! Just got mine today for over $2,000.

    ; )

    1. Andrew Minalto

      They’re getting desperate! 🙂

  41. Just had one in mail today.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Glad you read this first! 🙂

  42. I just had the same letter and instantly knew it had to be a scam, but as you say, if you read the small print at the bottom it DOES state that it is not an inoice and that there is no business relations as yet…….unless you pay of course !!!!!!

    Tio be honest if anyone is stupid enough just to pay in excess of £1000 to a polish bank account without looking deeper into it ………then they deserve to be scammed lol !!!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Well, not everyone is that Lucky David 🙂

  43. […] 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 […]

  44. […] Trademark Scams are turning into a nightmare for all new trademark applicants. On Monday I will publish an update […]

  45. Mike Tebbitt

    Like above I received mine yesterday. I was doing my banking at the time and started the process…….
    Nearly caught me but then read the very feint wording at the bottom and something did not ring true so like others checked on the internet and found your page. So glad I did and thank you for highlighting it as my first look was at their web page and so initially thought it was legit!
    Pity our local office does not give fair warning as I am sure TPP must be making a lot of money out of people a little less astute.
    Well done for posting and a very big Thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Great to hear that Mike – another soul saved! 🙂

      Andrew

      1. Thanks a lot guys
        today i received same letter…….but i have a question…..if i registered my trademarks last month, from where do they know my address, trademark etc. ?

        1. Andrew Minalto

          They can get this info when your trademark is published online.

          Glad that you found this post! 🙂

          Andrew

  46. They’re still in business, we received a couple of invoices from TPP recently, plus one very similar from
    “International Trademark Register”,

    Thank you for sharing, from me as well.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Glad I can help Claus! 🙂

      Andrew

  47. Thanks for sharing this! Just received the exact same letter, same amount requested… Luckily I don’t part with my cash that easily but thought I’d google it just incase! I hope more people see your post and don’t fall into the trap!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      That’s great to hear Stephanie! 🙂

      Andrew

Leave a Reply to kat Cancel Reply