Most registrants of domain names would have received the occasional Domain Registration Invoice from an unknown company. It looks very official and proper – but it’s a scam. Even though these people have been caught out so many times, they have modified their “invoices” to try and comply with Australian consumer law (in other words, you need to read the small print).
But there is an even more lucrative scam in operation – the old Trademark Registration invoice.
These Guys Are Coining It
I don’t apply for many TM’s, but when I do, I always get an official looking invoice like the one below. The penultimate bolded “call to action” says:
“Please pay the amount, within 10 days by wire transfer. Don’t forget to quote the trademark number.”
However, if you read the lightly greyed out section below this, the first two sentences state:
“Please notice, that this form is not an invoice. This is an offer for the annual registration of your Trademark in our internet database …”
Scam; scam; scam.
But according to a well-known Australian IP Lawyer, this scam unfortunately dupes many people – he reckons these guys (and others like them), are absolutely coining it.
IP Australia has this warning for trade mark owners:
“You should be aware that trade mark owners may receive correspondence or invoices from other companies regarding their IP. Before paying a fee for any IP related service, we recommend that you carefully consider what, if any, protection, promotion or other value the service will provide. See our website for further information.”
Ned O’Meara – 19th December 2016