Last week, in what appeared to be a matter of relatively minor interest, the IPKat's friend Shireen Smith (Azrights) issued a Tweet which read:
“Today 3 clients contacted me about a demand for £573.40 which they’ve received from Community Trade Mark Filing service of Liverpool. Scams”.
Right: trade mark professionals turn out in their thousands to support ShireenShireen's statement was picked up here by Class 46, but now it seems that this issue has escalated. Shireen has since received a letter threatening both her and Azrights with defamation proceedings on the basis that this statement was “highly defamatory and/or malicious falsehood designed to damage the reputation of our company in the market place". CTMFDS was seeking, among other things, an apology, and proposal for payment of damages, failing which they said they would be issuing proceedings. Says Shireen:
"Why a company that chooses a name like Community Trade Mark Service (designed to sound like it is an official body) and style of approach involving the sending pro forma invoices as a way of promoting its trade mark filing service (of converting the UK application to a European trade mark) would object in these terms to the use of the word SCAM to describe their activity is amazing. If 3 clients in one morning get in touch, all wondering whether they have to pay this company, or whether it is a scam, then it’s a scam. The fact that some kind of service is offered in return to those who engage with the company, knowingly or unknowingly, does not alter the fact that it is an attempt to intentionally mislead a person….. with the goal of financial or other gain. It is also clear from the company’s FAQ pages that they are fully aware of the confusion their style of operating engenders".You can read the rest of Shireen's highly pertinent comments here. Says the IPKat, Shireen has taken a brave and courageous stand and deserves both our respect and our support.