Unsolicited & Misleading Offers
24 June 2013, Peter Gemmell
Owners of registered rights such as patents and trade marks are increasingly targeted by unsolicited offers to pay renewal fees at highly inflated prices. Many of the offers give the impression of originating from an official source and deceive the rights owners into either paying an exorbitant price for a renewal, or entering into a contract to do so. Even the UK IPO has been targeted by misleading invoices.
Other misleading approaches offer to publish rights in official-sounding but worthless directories, or to file European Union trade marks at inflated costs.
Now the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that a direct marketing approach from Trademark Renewal Service Ltd was misleading and must not appear again in its current form. Details of the adjudication are here.
Despite the welcome ASA ruling, the principle of caveat emptor (‘buyer beware’) applies. If in any doubt as to the provenance of an offer or request for payment in connection with your IP rights, please contact us before committing to a payment which could be an expensive mistake.