We have recently received the following notification from IPAustralia and wanted to remind our clients to be aware of who they are paying invoices to and for what services. If you have any questions or concerns about any unsolicited invoices that you have received or paid recently, or if the notification below raises any concerns for you, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Unsolicited intellectual property services to customers
Some IP Australia customers have reported receiving unsolicited or misleading invoices from companies offering services to protect or promote their intellectual property (IP) rights in return for a fee.
You should be cautious of unsolicited or seemingly fraudulent IP protection, promotional or advertising services sent to you from companies other than IP Australia or your legal representative.
Carefully consider before paying
Companies who send you unsolicited invoices or letters may offer to:
• register or renew your IP right for a fee
• publish your patent or trade mark in an international publication or register
• provide a monitoring service for your patent or trade mark.
In some cases these invoices have the appearance of coming from an official source. Many customers believe they are required to pay for the services outlined.
The companies sending such invoices are not linked to any Government or IP Office and you are NOT obliged to pay their fees.
Before paying a fee for any IP related service, we recommend that you carefully consider what, if any, protection, promotion, or other value the service will provide. If you are in any doubt about an invoice you have received, please check with your patent or trade mark attorney, solicitor, inventors association or with us at IP Australia.
See our list of companies that we know send unsolicited requests on our website.
Reporting a misleading invoice
If you think your invoice is misleading please send us a copy. If we believe it is misleading we will list the company on our website to warn others. You can send a copy to our Fraud Control Officer via email or post.
Post: Fraud Control Officer PO Box 200 WODEN ACT 2606
You can also report your misleading invoice to the following organisations that may have the power to act:
• Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
• Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
• the Department of Fair Trading in your respective state
The ACCC provides information to consumers and small businesses on their website SCAMwatch to help you recognise, avoid and report scams.
Your IP rights and Privacy
We publish personal information on the internet or in online databases relating to IP rights that may be accessed by individuals anywhere in the world. We have no control over the subsequent use and disclosure of that personal information and cannot be accountable for any subsequent use under the Privacy Act 1988.
However IP Australia aims to assist, where possible, in combatting any misuse of your personal information and in limiting the possibility of paying avoidable fees.
by Sarah Herbert