29 June 2016Trademarks

Swedish trademark renewal scammers jailed

The men behind a Swedish scam that sent fraudulent trademark renewal invoices have been handed prison terms after being prosecuted for fraud offences.

According to a judgment handed down by the Uppsala District Court, six people have been found guilty of various offences including attempted fraud and aiding and abetting attempted fraud.

The dispute relates to fraudulent invoices sent out by a firm called OMIH Trademarks and Designs Registration Office.

According to a letter, which the Marques Class 46 blog has linked to, the invoices were sent “with the malicious intent of misleading the recipients into paying money for something which is in fact worthless and of no value”.

In a judgment handed down on June 23, Stefan Roos, Daniel Nordlund and Murat Baran were found guilty of attempted aggravated fraud, while Berkay Kisner and Taner Özpinar were found guilty of aiding and abetting attempted fraud.

Roos and Nordlund were both sentenced to one year in prison. Baran has been jailed for six months and Kisner for two months. Özpinar was handed a suspended prison term.

The court said it was unable to find the defendants guilty of “completed fraud” because it must be proven “beyond reasonable doubt” that each paying recipient made the payment due to actually being misled.

“The court finds that recipients of an invoice may pay the invoice for a number of different reasons,” said the letter, sent by Arthur Csatho, partner at law firm DLA Piper, who handled the case against the defendants.

It added: “The court states that it does not doubt that the majority of the recipients were actually misled. However … it cannot be ruled out that some of the recipients understood that this was a case of fraud, but paid the invoices anyway, for example in order to avoid the risk of consequences for defaulting on a payment.”

In a statement, Marques, which assisted in the prosecution by providing evidence of how such scams work, said it “remains resolutely determined to help prevent these scammers from misleading trademark owners”.

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More on this story

23 January 2018   The Svea Court of Appeal in Stockholm, Sweden has sentenced 20 individuals involved in sending fake invoices to trademark applicants.