Trade Mark Owners Mislead By Overseas Company - Trade Mark Lawyer Auckland - Dukesons Business Law
This Blog isn't legal advice – if you need legal advice on any trade mark issue or on any business law or commercial law issue, please contact me. I'm a business lawyer in Auckland who provides advice on trade marks and name protection, as well as a wide range of business law or commercial law advice.
One of the hats that I wear is as an intellectual property lawyer in Auckland (trade mark lawyer). I get inquiries from clients and others about letters/notices that they receive, usually from overseas companies, requiring or encouraging them to take some action or another to protect or maintain or renew their marks. Sometimes the letters/notices are outright scams; sometimes they are misleading (which could often be said to be a scam, especially if the letters/notices are deliberately misleading).
The Commerce Commission has warned Gibraltar-based company PTMO Limited for a notice it sent to New Zealand trademark holders to pay $1,295 to renew their trademark for 10 years. The Commission considered that the notice gave trade mark owners the misleading impression that:
- PTMO was connected with IPONZ (the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office) - small print in the notices didn't do enough to overcome that impression;
- payment of a renewal fee was required to maintain or renew their trademarks; and
- the owners had to pay PTMO.
It’s the second overseas company that the Commission has dealt to in the last few weeks. Trade mark owners should rely only on communications from IPONZ or their lawyer or trade mark agent. All other communications should be viewed with suspicion and the fine print should always be read. I'm not the first trademark lawyer to have sounded this caution.
See the following link for a blog in relation to the Commerce Commission getting another overseas operator(Swiss company TM Publisher) to refund $600,000 to New Zealand trademark holders after they were misled about the need to pay an invoice from the company:
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