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ACCC warns trade mark owners

ACCC warns trade mark owners article image
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and IP Australia have issued a warning to trade mark owners to be wary of any organisations looking to charge for intellectual property (IP) services, following a number of complaints about a fake organisation seeking payment for IP. IP Australia has logged complaints from trade mark owners who have received unsolicited correspondence requesting payment for publication of the trade mark owner’s trade mark details in a register. IP Australia has stated that the company is not in any way associated with their organisation and has no official or government authority. "The letters are often designed to trick the account payer into paying for unnecessary services such as domain name registrations, listings on online databases and ads in various publications," said ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper. "The end result is the business owner paying for a new listing on a website or in a directory, often of little value." IP Australia has advised trade mark owners to check whether the service provider is legitimate and to find out what protection, promotion or value the service will provide before handing over any money. The ACCC recommends business owners follow these five steps to make sure they get what they pay for:
  1. Don't assume that any 'renewal' notice is from your original supplier. You may receive many such offers from operators competing for your business or they could be scammers. Check all the details.
  2. Ensure that only authorised employees are responsible for payments and they should have ready access to important dates and suppliers. Update them on any scam or unsolicited service that may be targeting businesses.
  3. If the service is something that you would like, shop around to see what deals are available and who are the most reliable suppliers.
  4. If you receive letters of demand you may need to get legal advice to understand your rights.
  5. Alert your industry association or local business adviser about any offers that you think may be untoward or misleading. They may be able to warn others in your network.
For more information relating to the risks of unsolicited IP services, please visit the IP Australia website.

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