IP rights holders beware: Watch out for fraudulent invoices and other scams

By Frouke Hekker,

We regularly receive messages from our clients about approaches from companies presenting themselves as IP protection agents. Please do not make any payments to such companies.

Please watch out, in particular, for the following in unsolicited correspondence from any company purporting to be an IP organisation:

  1. Scam letters: Watch out for logos of official bodies reproduced (sometimes in a slightly modified form) on documents in which an IP rights holder is urged to make a payment in order to obtain, maintain and/or publish an IP right. The account number on such a letter is likely to belong to an unauthorised third party seeking to scam IP right holders into making payments.

If Novagraaf manages your IP rights, it is unlikely that you will be approached directly by any official body. If you do receive such an unsolicited letter, please contact us in the first instance.

  1. Fake registries: Another common variant involves rogue parties that seek to give the impression that they are an official body, and invite IP rights holders by letter, email, fax or telephone to make payments in order to obtain, maintain and/or publish an IP right. Such registries are not official IP registries and, therefore, the requested agreement and/or payment does not create any right and serves no purpose.

If you are approached by an unofficial body, please ignore their demand and under no circumstances make any payments.

  1. Fraudulent invoices: Typically, correspondence that resembles an invoice but which, on closer inspection, is really an offer to enter into an agreement. When such an invoice is paid, it enters the payee into an agreement for certain (unnecessary) services, often in return for payment of a considerable amount.

Please ignore such invoices and under no circumstances make any payments.

  1. Domain names: Malicious parties are also active in regards to domain names. Commonly, they ask companies, often by telephone, to make a payment to 'secure' a domain name. 

If you receive such an offer, we advise you not to accept it and to end the conversation immediately. Be sure not to provide any personal or company details.

If you are approached by any company about IP services and have doubts about the reliability or relevance of the offer or the document received, please check with your Novagraaf attorney or contact us below. 

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