UKIPO Succeeds in Passing Off Claim Concerning “Unofficial” Renewal Notices
In May this year, the UKIPO took legal action for passing off against the persons behind the companies trading as “Patent and Trade Mark Office” and “Patent and Trade Mark Organisation”. These organisations had been issuing official looking ‘renewal’ notices to holders of UK granted patents and registered trade marks. Such notices offer to renew the rights for fees greatly in excess of the official renewal fees and have often misled people into making excessive payments to these organisations, as they thought they were paying the UKIPO for renewing intellectual property rights.
The UKIPO therefore felt it was necessary to take appropriate action, given the evidence that customers were being misled or confused and that damage was being caused to the IPO’s good name.
The UKIPO has now been successful, and two of the most blatant offenders – ‘Patent and Trademark Office’ and ‘Patent and Trade Mark Organisation’ – and the persons behind these organisations, Mr Aleksandrs Radcuks and Mr Igors Villers, have admitted and settled claims and agreed to be bound by an Order of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court prohibiting them from further acts of passing off. This means that if these people pass themselves off again as the UKIPO, they will be in contempt of court and liable to imprisonment. The IPO advise that further proceedings are pending against another organisation that is engaged in similar practices.
The success of the IPO in this action should mean a welcome reduction in these kind of “unofficial” communications. We remind our clients that any official communications in respect of your patent and trade mark cases should come via HGF. If you receive any official-looking correspondence that you are unsure about, please do not make any payment. Instead, please contact HGF as soon as possible so we can check it for you. For some examples and further information, please see here.