A company that was targeting UK Intellectual Property Office customers for scamming purposes has been found liable for trade mark infringement as well as the common law offence of passing off.
The company in question, trading under the name of ‘Intellectual Property Agency’, issued fake trade mark renewal notices to trade mark owners under the impression they were acting in conjunction with the official UK Intellectual Property Office. These notices asked the IP owners to produce a fee to allow their mark’s renewal. With this request came a hefty fee which was six times the official fee issued by the IPO. This scam was also aimed at owners of registered patents who were also sent a similar fraudulent renewal notice demanding a high fee.
This case was heard by the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court who handed down the judgment awarding the maximum financial award under their powers. This amounts to a £500,000 fee as well as all legal costs occurred by the IPO. The court held that the ‘Intellectual Property Agency Ltd’ as well as its director Mr Harri Mattias Jonasson had infringed a number of trade marks as well as infringing more trade marks through the common law offence of ‘passing off’.
Following the judgment, Baroness Neville-Rolfe who is the Minister for Intellectual Property made comment stating “I welcome this judgment and the stiff sanctions. Deliberately misleading consumers into thinking they are engaging with an official government agency, is a very serious matter”.
She also stressed the importance for all intellectual property owners that believe they are being affected by fraud to report it immediately through Action Fraud to allow the matter to be dealt with effectively.
This judgment is clearly another step towards the end of scamming in intellectual property.