Businesses – Intellectual Property Scam
The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading is issuing a warning to businesses to be aware of bogus official looking letters or bogus telephone calls.
These letters and calls are from scammers attempting to trick genuine businesses into paying fees to register their patents and trademarks in official sounding national and international directories or registers.
The letters, which look like invoices, may include information about the business concerned which makes them appear to be genuine letters from the Intellectual Property Office. However, the small print reveals that they are in fact offers at inflated fees to register a patent, to have a trademark listed in a directory or placed on a CD, or to renew intellectual property rights.
The scammers’ intention is to mislead businesses into paying the inflated fees which are often over £1,000.
Similarly, the callers may have information to hand about the business concerned which makes them appear to be calling from the Intellectual Property Office whereas they are in fact operating the same scam.
Further information on applying for and renewing intellectual property rights, i.e. patents, trademarks and copyright, can be obtained from the Intellectual Property Office on www.ipo.gov.uk/ or by calling 0300 300 2000; this should always be a business’s first port of call.
If a business has lost money through a scam they should contact their local police station for advice and guidance.
Further information on business scams in general is available from the OFT website at http://www.gov.im/oft/Business_Advice/scams.xml or by telephoning 686500.