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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Anti-scam: a call for cooperation

Defenceless users of IP registration
systems benefit from better information
The MARQUES Class 46 weblog carries today a short post here, announcing the barest of beginnings of a list of websites that provide warnings and useful information for trade mark owners who wish to avoid being duped into making unnecessary and sometimes quite fraudulent payments for what they are misled to believing to be official services or valuable directory listings.

At present the list (which you can access here) is distressingly short. Information is provided from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), the European Patent Office (EPO) -- apparently via a page which can only be accessed by those in possession of a user name a and password -- and a small number of national or regional offices.

Information and advice on these websites is sometimes excellent, but too often falls well short of what this Kat regards as acceptable. Most have few links to other sites that provide further or similar information about scams, unwarranted demands and unsolicited offers; some lack contact details. Some are difficult to use and all could be improved simply by borrowing the best features of each others' sites.

The IPKat says, here is an easy way to help small, medium-sized, big and outsized IP owners, which need hardly cost anyone a penny:
(i)  every rights-granting office should provide an email address and phone number so that anyone who thinks he or she is being conned can either check up to see if the demand comes from  known source or at least alert the office in question;
(ii) each office should host a web page with as much useful information as it can muster, which can easily be found by a non-professional searcher who uses site-search terms like "scam";

(iii) the offices should have a LinkedIn group or other shared resource which enables them to communicate with one another, either when letting each other know of latest scams and payment demands or, as can happen, when conferring as to the legitimacy of a particular practice or the bona fides of a business that practises it.
Meanwhile, please let Class 46 know of any other national or other warning sites which it can add to its little list. That way, we can all work together to improve the position of the most vulnerable and unsuspecting of our rights-owners.

2 comments:

Graeme Fearon said...

Dear Kat

We've been compiling our own Rogues Gallery of trade mark scammers over the last few years.

For a long while the letters seemed reasonably unsophisticated, but recently they've been showing signs of getting slicker and more plausible. Perhaps this is a good thing if it means putative victims are getting wise to their tricks and the scammers are being forced to up their game...

Anyhow, we’ve been busy spreading the word and encouraging clients to check with us before paying anything to anyone. Here's our black list for what it's worth. We'd be grateful if anyone else has any names we've not yet come across.

Regards

Thrings IP team

Firms targeting UK applications

CTMFS
Suite 9 Imperial Court
Exchange Street East
Liverpool L2 3AB

European Institute for Economy and Commerce
Avenue Louise 65
BE – 1050 Brussels


Firms targeting CTM and global applications

IBIP International Bureau for Intellectual Property Inc.
391 NW 179th Avenue
Beaverton or 97006 USA

European Trade Marks and Designs
7 Arlington Gardens
London W4 4EZ

World Bureau for Intellectual Property
391 NW 179th Avenue
Aloha OR 97006
USA

C.R.P. SL International Publication
Apt 572
03710 Calpe
Alicante
Spain

International Organisation for Patent & Trademark Service LLC (IOPTS Inc)
NW 179th Avenue
Beaverton
OR 97006

Central Patent & Trademark Database
CD-CTI Limited
Rue Pestalozzi 7
CH-1202 Geneva
Switzerland

Patent Trademark Register
P O Box 26
A-1143 Vienna
Austria

Register of International Patents and Trademarks
P O Box 36
831 06
Bratislava
Slovak Republic

European Trademark Consulting
Community Trade Marks and Designs Limited
7 Arlington Gardens
London
W4 4EZ


Anyhow

Filemot said...

Worth noting that the President of OHIM has written a letter to users on 26 April 2011 about the initiatives they are taking to try and suppress these unauthorised registries.
Maybe this is something that he can take forward in cooperation with the EPO.
Now that the registries are so brilliantly efficient at publishing their own data, it may be time for the European Parliament to consider legislation prohibiting the charging of a fee by a commercial entity for republishing this public data. This would have no impact on the added value free services but would provide a remedy for this parasitic business model

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