The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is warning taxpayers of a new intellectual property (IP) scam, where taxpayers receive unsolicited invitations from companies offering services to help them protect their IP in return for a fee. These usually relate to private organisations offering official-sounding trade mark renewal services or misleading offers to enter trade marks on private official-sounding registers.

The IPO recently carried out a successful legal action against private organisations offering these types of arrangements, and anecdotal evidence has suggested a consequent decline in companies offering these services. However, the volume of customer feedback about misleading offers to enter trade marks on private official-sounding registers is increasing.

Taxpayers are under no obligation to pay for these services, and the companies offering these services are not linked to any government or EU institution. The IPO advises taxpayers that they are not obliged to pay any fees and to check carefully exactly what services are being offered, and if it is from an official source before making any payments.

The IPO would like to be notified if you receive a misleading invoice. If you have received an invoice in relation to your trade mark, design or patent and were misled into paying the organisation. Please also report this toAction Fraud.