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Warning - Misleading invoices

We have noticed an increasing amount of unsolicited or fraudulent IP protection, promotion or advertising services being offered to IP holders.

If you receive any communication about your IP case from anyone other than:

  1. Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ),
  2. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),
  3. your appointed IP professional,

you should treat them with caution. Particularly if they are preparing to charge you a fee for the service.

The Commerce Commission has investigated a recent misleading invoice incident from March 2016, resulting in an interim agreement with the originator of the invoices. If you have paid this invoice, please contact the Commerce Commision for further assistance. More details are available via their media release.

Types of requests

If you have applied in New Zealand for -  or own -  a registered trade mark, patent, design or PVR, you may receive letters inviting you to pay fees to publish your IP registration in publications which appear to be of an official nature. You may also find yourself the target of offers to protect your rights overseas.

Letters from unfamiliar organisations, especially letters requesting payment for unsolicited services, should be treated with caution.

These companies may try to create the false impression that they represent an official organisation.

Examples include:

  • offers and invoices to renew your patent or trade mark
  • offers to register patents or trade marks in international registers or catalogues
  • invoices for registration of patents or trade marks in registers
  • offers of patent or trade mark monitoring services

Example of misleading invoice [38 KB PDF]

Example of misleading invoice 2 [627 KB PDF]

Example of misleading invoice 3 [263 KB PDF]

Example of misleading invoice 4 [145 KB PDF]

A list of unsolicited or fraudulent IP related schemes and information from around the world including other IP offices can be found on the World Intellectual Property Organization website:

Get professional advice

If you have any doubts about a communication you have received, you should contact IPONZ or your IP professional to verify its authenticity.

Do you think you have been scammed?

The Consumer Protection website provides information to consumers and businesses on their website to help you recognise, avoid and report scams.

Last updated 7 July 2016