June 15, 2024

Expert: how to spot trademark renewal scams & avoid falling victim to fraud

BUSINESSES across the UK are at constant risk of trademark renewal scams, experts have warned. Each day, messages drop into company email inboxes – with scammers getting more creative when targeting victims.
The fake emails flag patent or trademark renewal issues and are usually marked “urgent”. They pressurise recipients into acting fast – snaring many in the process.
Commenting, Jeanette Wood, the CEO of Trademark Eagle, said: “These scams include companies misrepresenting themselves as the representative for the client, reaching out to owners of patents and trademarks in the UK.
“They use freely available information on the trade mark register to identify and contact trade mark owners with misleading invoices or trade mark renewal “reminder” letters long in advance of the renewal date. Typically, these letters invite the trade mark owner to renew the trademark before it is possible to actually do so and at highly inflated costs (£1,320 rather than £400 as an example). Thankfully there are steps you can take to avoid falling victim.”
Here Ms Wood provides her advice.
How to spot trade mark renewal scams – the three things to look out:
If you (and not your representative) receive a letter that you suspect could be part of one of these trade mark renewal scams, it’s vital that you seek professional advice. However, you may be able to spot some trade mark renewal scams yourself by looking out for:
The name of the company inviting to your renew:
You should only receive an invitation to renew your trademark from your representative, or if you are handling your own trademark then, this invitation will come directly from the IPO. If you do not recognise the company offering this service then get in touch with your representative for clarification.
Look out for urgent language
Trade mark renewal scams will often create letters that have a sense of urgency to worry to trade mark owners and encourage them to pay the invoice before they notice the suspicious nature of the letter. Red and bold text or the use of words like ‘important’ or ‘urgent’ in these letters are often indicative of a scam.
Look out for Inflated fees
The cost of renewing a trade mark for one class or goods or services your trade mark is £200 in statutory fees plus your representatives’ charges, which would be in the region of £200 plus VAT for a 1 class trade mark. If you receive an inflated invoice amount that is disproportionate to fees you usually pay, you could be targeted by a trade mark renewal scam.
To learn more about trade mark renewal and protection, you can arrange your free initial consultation today.