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September 9, 2011

Warning issued by Trademarks Office.

Unsolicited Invoices

All trademark applications and registrations are public documents. In the Internet age, this means that information relating to trademark applications and registrations may be obtained with just a few key strokes.

A few years ago, we noticed that certain companies were writing to our clients, offering to “publish” our clients’ trademarks on the Internet for a significant fee. Because we saw no apparent value in such listings, which have no official or government authority, we began to include a warning about these unsolicited offers in our reporting letters, particularly at the time trademarks were approved for publication in the Trade-marks Journal for opposition purposes.

In June 2011, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office issued its own warning, the English version of which stated the following:

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has been made aware of several incidents of what appear to be fee solicitations from private sector companies with respect to Canadian intellectual property applications.

If you receive an invoice concerning an application filed with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) from anyone other than CIPO or your agent, please contact either the Client Service Centre at 1-866-997-1936 (or 819-934-0554 for international calls) or your agent prior to responding.

In our respectful view, solicitations for money from third parties ought to be ignored. We cannot say that the companies involved are in any way illegitimate. Our view, however, is that the “services” on offer are completely unnecessary and that the solicitations should be discarded upon receipt.

In short, unless you hear directly from us or from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, pay no mind and do not pay the sought after amount.

Should you have any questions whatsoever about these solicitations, please feel free to contact us.

STEVEN Z. RABER, LL.B., F.I.P.I.C., is a lawyer, registered trademark agent, and trained mediator and may be reached by direct telephone at (204) 957-8304, by direct facsimile at (204) 954-0304, or by email at stevenraber@fillmoreriley.com

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