Warning against Misleading Requests for Payment
Beware of nasty surprises
False invoices in Corona times: The accounting department is not staffed as usual; the colleagues who are present fill in as substitutes. This should not be a problem in itself, except for the fact that some companies - especially in Corona times - receives business letters and e-mails of a special kind. We are talking about misleading invoices, offers and requests for payment for the publication, registration or renewal of IP rights in commercial registers for which a fee is charged. Often, the colleagues they represent react with uncertainty and pay prematurely for a service that is possibly not desired and, above all, not necessary. We would advise you to be cautious and not to pay until you have thoroughly checked the invoice. Furthermore, we would like to point out that the DPMA does not send voice or text messages to mobile phones.
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) warns against – partially misleading – offers, requests for payment and invoices from private companies. These companies offer services against payment including the publication or registration of IP rights in commercial registers. They also offer the renewal of IP rights at the DPMA and charge a fee for this service in addition to the official fees.
We explicitly point out that these companies are not associated with the DPMA.
What are misleading requests for payment?
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 in connection with IP rights.
Indications that it is not an official letter:
- Bank details of a company abroad, e.g. Poland (PL), Cyprus (CY), Tunisia (TN) or Bulgaria (BG)
- pre-filled transfer slip
- address other than that of an authority or office of the DPMA
What are the actual fees charged?
he official fees are due and must be paid to the DPMA when filing an application or submitting a request for the renewal or maintenance of an IP right or for other individual procedural steps. No additional fees are charged for the publication of IP rights in the official registers.
The DPMA does not send out any invoices or requests for payment.
All information on official fees is available in the leaflet Information Concerning Costs, Fees and Expenses of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and of the Federal Patent Court (form A 9510.1). There you will also find the terms of payment and the bank details of the DPMA.
On the fee pages we have compiled information on official fees of the DPMA.
Which companies are known to the DPMA?
Letters from the following companies have recently been brought to our attention:
- Copyright-Register des geistigen Eigentums
- German Domain & Trademark Office (website: www.gdto.de / www.gd-to.com)
- Deutsche Domain-Namen und Marken (DEDM) (website: www.de-dm.de)
- EUTD - European Trademarks & Domains (website: www.eutd.org) *NEW
- IOIP – International Organisation Intellectual Property Registration International Mark
- IPOS - Intellectual Property Organisation Service (website: www.ip-os.org)
- IPS – Intellectual Property Services (Internetadresse: www.ipservices.biz) *NEW
- IPTR - International Patent and Trademark Register (website: www.iptr.biz)
- PMR-Service GmbH - Patent- und Markenregister (website: www.pmr-serv.com)
- TMP Register - Trademark Publication (website: www.tmp-register.com) *NEW
- WPAT- World Patents and Trademarks (website: www.wpat-service.com)
- WPT - World Patent and Trademark Register ltd (website: www.worldpatenttrademark.com/) *NEW
- List of the companies which have been brought to the attention of the DPMA
Have you received such a letter?
If you receive requests for payment, offers or invoices relating to your IP right pending before the DPMA from companies where you have doubts about the legitimacy of the request for payment, you can contact our Customer Care and Services any time. If you have not found the company in question in our list, please send an e-mail to email@example.com and provide an example in the attachment.
Holders of international registrations of marks who received a communication can contact WIPO directly to find out if the communication received is indeed an official communication by WIPO:
- For this purpose, please call the International Bureau (phone: +41 22 338-9111) or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- In addition, you may contact the Legal Division of the Madrid Union with respect to any query concerning this and any other legal issue: email@example.com
Not only the DPMA issues warnings
Other IP offices have also issued warnings on their websites concerning – partially misleading – offers, requests for payment and invoices from companies unrelated to them:
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
- European Patent Office (EPO) and
- numerous national IP offices such as the
The German Protective Association against Economic Crime (Deutscher Schutzverband gegen Wirtschaftskriminalität – DSW) as well as numerous chambers of commerce and industry provide comprehensive information about the practice described on this page, also known as scam.
Last updated: 7 January 2021