The popular reference, very wise on the other hand, clearly states that “hunger sharpens the wit.” Well, it is becoming increasingly clear that if we change “hunger” for “crisis” the saying remains in full force.
In recent times a new type of “ingenious” has emerged which should be warned to anyone who has registered or wants to register a trademark, either before the American Patent and Trademark Office (OEPM), before the Office of Harmonization of Internal Market (OHIM) or any similar body. The story always carries the same script:
Certain companies, throughout Europe, collect the information published by the Offices for possible oppositions (name, contact details, trade name) and use them to contact the applicant by fax, on Remittance or postage paid, requiring the payment of an amount of money (ranging from 400 to 2,000 euros) to proceed to complete the registration of your trademark.
These letters, submitted on behalf of institutions with apparently reliable names such as the “European Institute for Economic and Trade” (translated into French, English and German) are presented in different formats, including invoices, Clear the amount to be paid and the account number where the entry should be made, including the data of the registrant and the requested mark. Apparently, everything suggests that it is a process (and expense) more in the procedure of registration of the mark in the office of shift.
Nothing is further from reality.
What is involved is the attempt, crude, direct and malicious of these companies to confuse all that they can and get those to pay very important amounts of money to register their brand in a private register that, among other virtues presents:
No evidentiary validity, legal or constitutive of any right.
No legal effect.
Risk of using the data for other purposes of doubtful legality.
Such private records therefore have no more utility to the applicant than a telephone directory. And if we take into account that these letters are received not only in the initial registration but also coinciding with the renewal moments of the brands, imagine the potential market of these “ingenious” merchants.
While it is true that the problem has come a long way, it has reached such a scale during the current economic crisis that warnings have been established on the web sites of both the SPTO and the OHIM, identifying the usual letter templates and sending companies thereof. Just take a look at these pages to enjoy first hand with the contemplation of such works of art of social engineering, which we show some examples in this post.
In short, an obviously malicious, and even fraudulent, practice that entails a millionaire income for these “clever” friends of deception.