We regularly get questions from trademark holders about letters they receive from third parties. These letters appear to originate from BOIP, the EUIPO, the WIPO or some other official agency and often seem to be invoices. Trademark holders therefore wonder whether they are obliged to pay them.
The Trademarks Register is public, just like the Trade Register for example. This makes it possible for providers of various services to approach you directly. Some of these companies’ practices leave much to be desired.
We are aware of this problem, but unfortunately it is difficult to prevent. In some cases, criminal proceedings have been successfully conducted (see the decision of the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal, the Stockholm Court of Appeal and the Brussels criminal court).
Given the nature of some of these offers, we warn trademark holders to always exercise caution and not take up an offer without verification.
Attention: Misleading offers may concern not just your trademark registration, but also your domain or trade name (if you have one). Although BOIP does not deal in domain or trade names, we do believe that it is important to warn you about dubious offers in general. Always check that the source of an offer is official before you make any payment.
If you have any doubts about an offer’s authenticity, please contact our Information Centre.
List of senders of confusing letters
Below is a list of companies that have approached trademark holders with a confusing offer. In other words: the nature of the offer and/or the offering party’s credentials were found to be confusing. We regularly update this list.
We are providing this list to warn all trademark holders that these companies/senders should never be confused with BOIP or any other official agency. Please also note that you are under no obligation to take up any offers from these companies and, indeed, we strongly advise against it.
Steps are also being taken to combat misleading invoices at the international level: by the Anti-Scam Network, an initiative of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The Network is an alliance of representatives from inter alia the EUIPO, national IP offices (including BOIP), WIPO, the European Patent Office, EUROPOL and various user organisations. Its goal is to join forces to tackle scam invoices and thereby protect users across the board. The framework for this cooperative drive is set out in a 'Joint Statement on an Expert Cooperation Charter in the area of Anti-Scam’.