Beware of Bogus Trade-mark Invoices

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A Czech outfit calling itself the WDTP (Worldwide Database of Trademarks and Patents) regularly sends invoices to Canadian trade-mark owners, claiming to be owed a few thousand dollars as a “filing fee”. The WDTP is just one of many such operations, based in places such as Hungary, Slovak Republic or even within the United States. These outfits have made a business out of sending bogus unsolicited invoices to legitimate trade-mark owners. They base their letters on trade-mark registration data gleaned from the public US or Canadian trade-mark databases. They even appear to have trouble distinguishing between themselves, since one recent letter warned the reader that it was not associated with those other bogus outfits with similar-sounding names.

It’s small wonder that there is confusion since the names are chosen to be vaguely similar to legitimate government offices. Here is a sampling of a few names: Trademark Registration and Monitoring Office (Past Due Notice), Trademark Registration and Monitoring Office (Intellectual Property Rights Recordation Alert), United States Trademark Registration Office, Patent & Trademark Agency, United States Trademark Maintenance Service, U.S. Trademark Compliance Service, WDTP, CPTD, WIPT, RIPT, IOPR and so on.

Lessons for business: