For any avid readers of the IPcopy (hi mum), you will have noticed that the subject of misleading invoices rears its ugly head on a regular basis. To summarise, if you are the owner of an intellectual property (IP) right then you may from time-to-time receive communications that resemble official looking invoices for IP services. Such misleading invoices are sent directly to the IP owner and are designed such that they give the impression to the IP owner that they have to either use the service offered or pay the amount listed, often at inflated rates.
In a positive development in the fight against companies imitating official Intellectual Property Offices, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has succeeded in bringing legal proceedings against Mr Aleksandrs Radcuks (trading as ‘Patent and Trade Mark Office’) and Mr Igors Villers (trading as Patent and Trade Mark Organisation), who admitted and settled the UKIPO’s claims of passing off.
Mr Radcuks and Mr Villers are now bound by an Order of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court which prevents them from committing further acts of passing off and have made a substantial contribution to the UKIPO’s legal costs.
The UKIPO confirms in its publication of 18 August 2014 (link here) that further proceedings are pending against a third organisation.
Pausing only for a brief victory fist pump, IPcopy reminds IP rights holders (whether unregistered or registered) to remain vigilant when addressing invoices that appear to originate from the relevant Intellectual Property Offices, including but not limited to the UKIPO, EPO, WIPO and OHIM.
Should you have any doubts as to the authenticity of an invoice, always check with your professional representative or follow the related UKIPO link here.
Nick Bowie 3 September 2014