Spam Scams: beware of unsolicited IP services being offered to IP holders
Wednesday 16th March 2016
There has recently been an increase in the number of unsolicited or fraudulent letters or emails purporting to offer services such as IP protection, promotion, advertising, or renewal of registered IP rights and domain names.
Many scam letters/emails look official. However, these unsolicited letters are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (“IPONZ”), IP Australia, Domain Name Registries, or the World Intellectual Property Office (“WIPO”) and should be treated with caution.
For example, a scam letter or email may state that the sender is involved in the registration of business names or keywords including company names and domain names and that a third party has attempted to register your trade mark or company name as a domain name. They then go on to state that they have delayed the application process while they contact you so that you can register the domain name instead. Other letters may request that you pay fees for registration or renewal of registered IP rights or the publication of your registered rights in an official sounding publication. Some even provide links to very legitimate looking websites.
The companies that send these emails appear to trawl through public registers, such as the Companies Register and the Trade Mark and Patent Registers, and then create spam letters/emails using the names they locate through these searches. They are simply trying to scare you into unnecessary action as a means of creating business for themselves, or, worse, defrauding you of money without doing anything. We strongly advise against dealing with them.
If you wish to register or maintain any IP rights, domain names or business names, either because they are relevant to your business or to protect yourself from others, we can register them through an official body; just contact your usual advisor at Baldwins.
When in doubt about a particular piece of correspondence, please contact us.
More information can be found on the Misleading Invoices page on the IPONZ website.
If you have receieved a letter you are concerned about or you would like further information, please contact a Baldwins representative.