Trade Marks

Beware of Unsolicited Renewal Invoices

Max Steinhausen

As a trademark owner, you've worked hard to establish and protect your brand. Registering a trademark is an essential step in safeguarding your intellectual property, but it also makes you a potential target for scammers and opportunists. One common tactic used by unscrupulous entities is sending unsolicited renewal invoices, tricking trademark owners into paying unreasonable high fees for the renewal. In this article, we'll shed light on this deceptive practice and provide you with tips on how to stay vigilant and protect your trademark rights.

1. Understanding the Unscrupulous Practice: Unsolicited renewal invoices are misleading solicitations sent by  individuals or companies who closely monitor the publication of trademark registrations. These invoices often resemble official renewal notices, containing your trademark details and official-looking logos. However, they are cleverly designed to deceive you into believing that they are legitimate requests for renewal fees.

2. Recognizing the Red Flags: To avoid falling victim to these scams, it's crucial to be aware of the common red flags associated with unsolicited renewal invoices. Here are some indicators to watch out for:

a) Unexpected invoices: Official renewal reminders are typically sent directly to the registered address for service for your trademark. Unsolicited invoices appearing out of the blue should be treated with caution.

b) High fees: Scammers often inflate the renewal fees, making them significantly higher than the official costs. Conduct thorough research on the legitimate fees charged by your country's trademark office to identify any discrepancies.

c) Urgency and pressure tactics: Scammers use aggressive language, urging immediate payment or suggesting dire consequences if the invoice is not settled promptly. Legitimate renewal notices usually provide ample time to consider and process payments.

d) Lack of specific trademark details: Official renewal notices typically include specific information about your trademark, such as the registration number and renewal deadline. If these details are missing or vague, it could indicate a fraudulent invoice.

3. Protecting Yourself and Your Trademark:Shielding your trademark from unsolicited renewal invoice scams requires a proactive approach. Here are some steps you can take to minimize the risk:

a) Educate your team: Ensure that your employees are aware of the existence of these scams and know what to look out for. Encourage them to report any suspicious invoices prior to making any payments.

b) Verify the source: Always double-check the sender's credentials before making any payments. Cross-reference the invoice with the official renewal notice from your trademark office or consult with your intellectual property advisor.

c) Maintain accurate records: Keep records of your trademark registrations, including renewal dates and fees paid. This will help you identify any discrepancies in case you receive an unsolicited invoice.

d) Report fraudulent activities: If you come across a scam or receive a suspicious invoice, report it to your local law enforcement authorities and the relevant trademark office. By doing so, you contribute to the fight against these deceptive practices.

4. Stay Informed: Remaining up to date with the latest trademark-related news and information can help you stay one step ahead of scammers. Regularly check official trademark office websites, subscribe to their newsletters, and consult with professionals specializing in intellectual property rights.

Conclusion: Protecting your trademark involves not only securing its registration but also safeguarding it from scammers seeking to exploit your hard work. By staying informed, recognizing the red flags, and taking proactive measures, you can defend your brand against unsolicited renewal invoice scams. Remember, caution and vigilance are key to ensuring the longevity and success of your trademark rights.

For professional guidance on trademark protection and combating scams, consult with an intellectual property consultant who can help you navigate the complex landscape of the trademark system.

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I've been working with Max and the team for a number of years now. They have helped me with multiple trade marks, objections/challenges and advice around the technicalities of the law. I would highly recommend talking to them if you're looking for great customer service, advice and results!

Mathew Stillone
Founder/Managing Director, Integrity Food Co.

Thank you to Max and the whole team! Your work is always of a high standard, professional and timely. I highly recommend Max and the team to any organisation needing IP support!

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Director, Hypnobirthing Australia

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Founder/ Director, Mask Co.

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