News story

IPO initiates legal action to protect its own IP

Claim for passing off filed at the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.

The claim, filed on Monday 19 May 2014, was against the persons behind the companies trading as Patent and Trade Mark Office and Patent and Trade Mark Organisation.

These organisations have been issuing official looking ‘renewal’ notices to holders of UK granted patents and registered trade marks. These notices offer to renew the rights for fees greatly in excess of the official renewal fees.

We know that some of our customers have been misled into making excessive payments to these organisations, as they thought they were paying us for renewing intellectual property rights.

We therefore felt it was necessary to take appropriate action, given the evidence that our customers are being misled or confused and that damage is being caused to the office’s good name.

Advertising Standards Authority’s action

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has also been taking action in relation to companies who issue misleading invoices.

This includes a landmark agreement with Trading Standards. They have agreed to act as the ASA’s ‘legal backstop’ in relation to any non-broadcast advertisers, who continue to break the rules on misleading advertising.

Further information about this new agreement is available on the ASA website.

The ASA has also ruled against three companies in relation to misleading invoices:

These decisions reinforce our advice to customers.

If you receive an unsolicited invitation

Check to see what services are being offered and if it is from an official source. You are NOT obliged to pay any fees as these companies are not linked to any government or community institution.

If you receive a misleading invoice, we would like to hear about it and see a copy.

See our previous news story for further information on misleading invoices and the types of services they offer.