Warning issued about Community trademark scam

European Union

Some businesses that have recently applied for Community trademarks have been receiving invoices for registration of their marks in the Central Data-Register Community Trademarks. The letters request payment of €1,235.

In fact, the register is nothing more than a scam. The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market has issued a warning to businesses that the register has nothing to do with the office's own Community Trademarks Register.

The sender of the bogus invoices is a German company that has previously been denounced for sending letters seeking payment for entries in a private register containing information relating to industrial property titles already recorded in the German Patent and Trademark Office. The company and its officers are under investigation by German law enforcement authorities for fraud and other offences.

Many businesses trading on the Internet will be keen to protect their brands on a European-wide basis. A Community trademark provides a cost effective way of doing so, although it can take between 18 months and two years to obtain. (For more on Community trademarks, see Branding for the Internet - Part One).

Jon Fell, Masons, London

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