EUTM and RCD holders: Beware of ‘scam’ Brexit letters

Companies posing as IP advisers are currently targeting UK companies with EU trademark and design registrations, hoping to trick their unsuspected recipients into paying for unnecessary UK registrations.

A new type of scam letter is targeting IP rights holders. The content looks formal enough, summarising the recipient’s EU trademark portfolio, and advising them to register a UK filing to safeguard their core trademarks on Brexit.

However, these letters are a blatant “phishing” exercise, born out of the chaos caused by Brexit and designed to panic EU trademark (EUTM) and registered Community design (RCD) owners into spending money that there is absolutely no need for them to spend.

It is just the latest instance of unscrupulous companies and individuals targeting trademark owners with unsolicited and misleading information. If you receive such a letter, please do not respond and please do not, under any circumstances, make a payment.

Rights will be cloned automatically on Brexit – and without charge

Please rest assured that, as things stand currently, you do not need to pay anyone any money to safeguard your EU registrations in the UK after Brexit.

Indeed, it has been confirmed for some time that rights holders with existing EUTM or RCD registrations will have a new UK equivalent right granted at no charge when the UK exits the EU, even if it does so without a deal. These registrations will be cloned automatically into parallel UK registrations, and there will be no UK government fee to pay or opt-in procedure to follow. (For more on the procedures and legislation that have been put in place to facilitate this, please read our frequently updated article on Brexit.)

Novagraaf will also take the necessary steps to ensure that all our clients are made aware of the cloned UK rights that arise post-Brexit, as well as any actions that they may need to take on rights that were still pending at the time of exit. 

In the meantime, if you are approached by a company about your IP rights on Brexit, or receive any IP-related correspondence that asks you to take action or make a payment, please always contact your Novagraaf attorney in the first instance. Other common scams to look out for include companies sending IP documents that look like invoices (usually they contain the word ‘INVOICE’ in big letters) and demanding payment for IP services, at often considerable as well as unnecessary expense.

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