The German Patent and Trade Mark Office warns against - partially misleading - offers, requests for payment and invoices relating to IP applications and renewal of IP rights from private companies unrelated to the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
These companies offer services against payment including the publication or registration of IP rights in non-official registers or the renewal of IP rights at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
Often, such letters cannot be identified as offers at first sight - in many cases, this becomes only obvious by carefully reading the small print or the terms and conditions that are sometimes printed on the back. You should therefore always carefully read communications containing requests for payment.
Such approaches per se do not have any legal effect; they do not create any obligation to pay the issuer.
IP rights can only be obtained by filing an application with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office or with another IP authority. Their renewal is only possible by timely paying of the corresponding renewal fee to the German Patent and Trade Mark Office or another IP authority.
Official fees charged in connection with an IP right in the procedure before the German Patent and Trade Mark Office must be paid exclusively to the account indicated by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. The fees are listed in the information leaflet concerning costs, fees and expenses .
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office will not charge any additional fees for the publication of an IP right in the official register.
In particular, mail from the following companies not commissioned by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office has been reported to us since 2013. We do not know whether these companies are still active. Companies reported to us in previous years are listed in our archive.
Likewise, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have issued warnings concerning - partially misleading - offers, requests for payment and invoices from companies unrelated to them.
Holders of international registrations who received a communication can contact WIPO directly to find out if the communication received is indeed an official communication by WIPO.
The warning and a list of companies that have been reported to EUIPO are available at https://oami.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/misleading-invoices.
The EPO?s warning and a list of examples of communications are available at
© 2016 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 29/09/16