EU – For some years now dubious companies or registers have been sending invoices to new trademark, design and even patent applicants, misleading them into believing that a payment is necessary in the official registration / grant process, while stating in the fine print that the fee is needed for publication in a private run register. Our law firm has been actively involved in spreading awareness of these misleading practices by providing information to our clients and through official and professional organizations on the EU and national level.
In December 2017 the Swedish court issued a judgment in a criminal case against few such fraudulent companies, where several persons were found guilty of fraud and sentenced to imprisonment.
Furthermore, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) Office published a searchable list of companies and registers, reported to be sending such invoices and which are not connected to any official trademark or design registration service provided by EUIPO.
You can find the list on the EUIPO’s website https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/misleading-invoices