HM Insights

Trade Marks: beware of correspondence asking you for money

When an application to register a trade mark is made, details of the applicant are made publicly available upon the website of the registering authority.

Unfortunately this has given rise to a practice whereby certain persons and companies are searching the register for new applications, and writing to new applicants. Often their correspondence appears to be an invoice from an official source relating to the application made, a requirement to pay monies to extend the application to Europe or another country, or a requirement to have the details of the application listed in a directory. If the applicant uses a legal or accountancy firm for their registered office, often the correspondence is forwarded on by the legal or accountancy firm, as part of a mail forwarding service.

Intellectual Property Theft

Requirements relating to trade mark applications, particularly those to pay money, should only come via the applicant's representative, with accompanying explanatory correspondence, or if the applicant has no representative, directly from the registering authority.

If an applicant is in any doubt as to whether something should be completed, returned or paid they should speak directly with their representative, or if they don't have one, with the registering authority or a suitably qualified legal advisor or trade mark attorney.

The UK Intellectual Property Authority maintains an area upon their website, relating to this practice. Those applying for trade marks are recommended to check this.

Brands and trade marks 

Trade mark registration is one of the most effective ways to protect your business name and brand. Harper Macleod have an extensive and market leading registered trade marks practice, and can deal with all aspects from application, through monitoring, to enforcement, in the UK and overseas.

To discuss your brand management and registration strategy more generally please contact us.