Posts tagged 'business'

WOTRA Trademark Scam letter

A couple of weeks ago I filed a trademark application for my company name, Quernus. This was filed with the official UK body for this, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The cost for this process is £200.

Today I received a letter in the post from the ‘World Organisation for Trademarks’ with an invoice for £896 for a filing of the trademark. The beneficiary is WOTRA Kft in Budapest, Hungary.

Photo of scam letter from WOTRA

It is a scam.

It is a private company who operate a private registration database of trademarks. It has no connection with anyone else.

But it is a pretty damn good scam. They obviously scan the official trademark notification bulletins and use the public data from that to make a very convincing looking invoice with enough information in it to make it seem legitimate.

However, at the bottom in the small print they even say:

Please note that this private registration hasn’t any connection with the publication of official registrations, and is not a registration by a government organisation, and we haven’t any business relation yet. This offer for registration is not an invoice but a solicitation without obligation to pay, unless our offer is accepted.

I’d imagine quite a few companies falling for it.

In fact it seems that this process is pretty widespread and even WIPO have had to publish official advice on the matter.

EDIT: also the UK government have published advice themselves on misleading invoices for IP protection