Refunds issued to victims of trademark solicitation campaign

The Commerce Commission of New Zealand has worked with ANZ Bank to return approximately NZ$600,000 to trademark holders that were misled about the need to pay an invoice from Swiss company TM Publisher.

Invoices sent out to New Zealand registered trademark holders were considered by the commission to be likely to mislead them into thinking that they were paying to re-register their trademark when they were actually paying to publish it on an overseas website. In addition, it felt that the company had failed to clearly inform trademark holders that they were under no obligation to pay for the services offered. It therefore found that TM Publisher was likely to have breached the Fair Trading Act 1986 and issued a formal warning to the company.

More than 280 trademark owners, which made payments totalling NZ$600,000 into TM Publisher’s ANZ bank account between March 10 2016 and May 9 2016, received refunds. AJ Park’s Jonathan Aumonier-Ward and Alexandra Bell told World Trademark Review that: “The success in obtaining so many refunds is a credit to the ANZ Bank’s quick action in freezing TM Publisher’s bank account, and the Commerce Commission’s for entering into negotiations with TM Publisher to enable the payments to be reversed or refunded.”

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