6 November 2014Trademarks

Norway identifies trademark renewal ‘scammer’

The Norwegian Intellectual Property Office (NIPO) has reportedly made progress in its fight against false trademark renewal notices by identifying another alleged fraudster.

A company called Varemerke Byrå has recently started sending notices seeking to charge trademark owners several times the official renewal fee, according to the Marques blog.

NIPO considers the offers to be misleading, the blog reported, as customers continuously report their frustrations and worries. The company has not yet received any payment, however.

The notices that Varemerke Byrå allegedly sends are similar to those produced by Varemerkeorganisasjonen AS, another company on NIPO’s list of culprits.

According to NIPO, Varemerkeorganisasjonen sends a ‘reminder’ that looks like an invoice to trademark owners, making them think it is official. The trademark owner then signs the reminder before receiving an invoice.

The fee paid is NOK 11,350 ($1,660), more than four times the official price of NOK 2,600, and is sent to a Norwegian bank account. NIPO itself then receives the renewal fee from that same account, while the profit “probably is being transferred abroad”, said Marques.

As the company does not pay VAT in Norway the tax authorities have taken legal action in the past, but failed.

Varemerke Byrå and Varemerkeorganisasjonen are two of 22 companies on NIPO’s list.

The problem of fraudulent trademark renewal notices is longstanding. Last year, amid a flurry of attempts to wrongly charge trademark owners for core services, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market published a warning on its website.

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