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Scams in intellectual property

Intellectual property is a very complex area and covers a vast range of diverse subjects.[1] As a result, there are opportunities for unscrupulous individuals and organizations to take advantage of those wishing to secure protection for their IP.


[edit] Registration services

Registration services are organizations or individuals that contact IP applicants or owners and request payment for an apparently official registration of their IP.

Applicants for and owners of patents, trademarks and industrial design rights have all received letters from such registration services and different IP offices and organizations around the world have issued warnings in connection with the offered services.

The Registration services are able to target applicants directly because patent, trademark and design applications are published a set time after filing or upon grant. This information is freely available to the public and normally includes a name and address for the applicant. Registration services use this information to send requests for payment to applicants shortly after publication.

[edit] Published warnings for different forms of IP

[edit] PCT registration services

Registration services are known to target applicants of international patent applications. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has issued a warning about several of these services, including:[2]

  • RIPT - Register of International Patents and Trademarks
  • IBIP - International Bureau for Intellectual Property
  • ODM - Patent Trademark Register
  • IBFTPR - International Bureau for Federated Trademark & Patent Register
  • IOIP - Organization for Intellectual Property
  • ODM - Register of International Patents
  • ODM - Office Data Management
  • IOPTS - International Organization for Patent & Trademark Service
  • FIPTR - Federated Institute for Patent and Trademark Registry Inc.
  • CPTD - Central Patent & Trademark Database
  • CCIT - Commercial Center for Industry and Trade
  • CPD - Central Patent Database
  • Register of International Patents
  • Register of International Patent Bulletin/Registre des données bulletin europeén des brevetes
  • Institut of Commerce for Industry, Trade, Commerce/Wirtschaftsinstitut für Industrie, Handel, Handwerk AG
  • Central Data-Register of International Patents

[edit] Domain slamming

Domain slamming is a form of scam in which an internet service provider (ISP) or domain name registrar attempts to trick customers of different companies into switching from their existing ISP/registrar to the scamming ISP/registrar, under the pretense that the customer is simply renewing their subscription to their old ISP/registrar.[3]

VeriSign was sued in 2002 for their actions in sending ambiguous emails informing people, often incorrectly, that their domain was about to expire and inviting them to click on a link to renew it. Renewing the domain resulted in the registration company being transferred to VeriSign from the previous registrar.[4] In 2003, VeriSign was found not to have broken the law but were barred from suggesting that a domain was about to expire or that a transfer was actually a renewal.[5]

Also in 2003, the Domain Registry of America were ordered by the Federal Trade Commission not to make misrepresentations after telling consumers that their domain registrations were expiring, leading many consumers to switch their domain name registrar.[6]

[edit] Invention promotion firms

Some invention promotion firms have been found to engage in improper and deceptive practices.[7]

Signs of an unscrupulous invention promotion firm include:[8][9]

  • Exaggerated claims about the market potential of the invention
  • Refusal to offer advice in writing
  • Request for money immediately and upfront
  • Money back guarantees - Reputable professionals charge a fee for service and are compensated for their work and, therefore, do not offer money back guarantees.[10]

[edit] Fraudulent claims of Bona vacantia

In the United Kingdom, bona vacantia is ownerless property which has passed to the Crown. This property is administered by the Bona Vacantia Division of the Treasury Solicitor's Department. Fraudulent emails and letters, claiming to be from this department, have been reported which inform the recipient that they are the beneficiary of a legacy but requiring payment of a fee before sending more information or releasing the money.[11]

[edit] References

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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