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Check Before You Send a Check! Shady IP Solicitations and You

Congratulations!  You’ve decided to file for IP protection for your patent or trademark.  You’ve paid the filing fees, but for some reason you’ve started getting mailings asking for more money, and some look pretty official:

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But don’t reach for your credit card or checkbook just yet!  Looking to the fine print on the back, the notice says it’s not approved or endorsed by any government agency, the offer is not being made by an agency of the government, and the mailing is not a bill, it’s a solicitation.  Looked pretty official, huh?

These types of solicitations are gaining in frequency.  When you apply for a patent or trademark, the contact information supplied with your application may become publicly available.  Other services may scrape this information to send out official-looking solicitations for other services related to your pursuit of intellectual property protection.  In the prior example, the solicitation is actually for a mark monitoring service. 

The next example is a solicitation to pay $2,356.00 for “Registration of the International Patent” sent after a patent application published in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Gazette.  The solicitation looked like payment was required for publication in the WIPO Gazette, but looking to the fine print on the back of the letter, payment meant publication on the solicitor’s personal .biz domain.

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Shady stuff, right?  Therefore, whenever you get a solicitation to pay money associated with your application for intellectual property protection, no matter how official-looking, check before you send a check!  Contact your lawyer right away before sending any money.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is for general informational purposes only. This post is not updated to account for changes in the law and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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