Barristers and Solicitors
Patent and Trademark Agents

Misleading 'Invoices' related to Trademark Applications

The World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) recently issued a warning that an entity named the "World Intelligent Property Office" has started to send misleading "invoices" to the holders of international trademark registrations recorded under the Madrid Protocol. These "invoices" invite the applicants to pay fees for "registering" or "publishing" their marks and use a logo, address and contact information similar to that of WIPO. 

As noted by WIPO, this organization has no connection with WIPO and its activities have no legal effect under the Madrid Protocol.

These types of "invoices" are, unfortunately, a longstanding challenge in the field of trademarks. Since the name and addresses of applicants must be provided in their trademark applications and this information is published via the Internet by most trademark offices in their registers, it has proven to be an irresistable opportunity for con artists around the world.

Often these "notices" or "invoices" are designed to look like they come from official sources like the the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) or WIPO. They may be addressed to the "accounts payable department"  and they routinely offer services like "publication" or "monitoring" services related to the trademark application to justify the fees.

If an applicant retains an agent to file their trademark applications on their behalf, ALL official communications related to their applications should come through their agent. The USPTO, CIPO, WIPO and intellectual property law firms have been issuing warnings to applicants about such misleading notices for years. Nevertheless, the practice has continued so some unfortunate applicants must be deceived into making the requested payments.