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Warning about intellectual property-related scams

May 30, 2019


Partners Richard Watts
Special Advisors Sarah Chapman
Senior Associates Raymond Scott

We remind IP owners to be cautious about unsolicited correspondence relating to IP services.

This reminder follows a recent increase in the number of New Zealand trade mark owners being targeted with fraudulent letters and invoices requesting payment. These letters or invoices may falsely give the impression that they are being sent by an official organisation, and offer services such as renewing trade marks or adding trade marks to unofficial databases. Further information and examples of such misleading invoices are available on the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand website.

This scam is not new and the Commerce Commission has previously investigated senders of misleading IP invoices, resulting in determinations against the senders. However, given the recent increase in activity, it is a useful reminder to be cautious when you receive unsolicited mail or invoices. The Commerce Commission website provides further information about dealing with and reporting scams.

What should you do if you receive unsolicited correspondence relating to your intellectual property?

  • Be aware that it could be a scam unless it’s from your usual IP service provider or an official organisation such as the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand.
  • Contact one of our people below in the first instance to check the authenticity of the correspondence.
  • Don’t engage with the sender.
  • Never disclose your credit card or other financial details.