If you receive any communication about unsolicited IP services from an unfamiliar organisation, chances are that it is a scam so you should check carefully whether the source is genuine. Trade mark scam operations are rife in New Zealand and elsewhere, with scammers making misleading requests for payment posing as legitimate government or publication organisations. They are able to obtain contact details of trade mark applicants from official trade mark databases, allowing them to contact applicants directly.
Earlier this year, the Commerce Commission cracked down on a major scam operation by an overseas-based organisation called TM Publisher, freezing its New Zealand bank account containing over $200,000 in payments from New Zealand businesses and helping those businesses recoup their losses. Despite the Commission's effort to curtail these operations, scammers are still active in targetting New Zealanders. Recently, we have had numerous reports of businesses receiving letters from an organisation called "PTMO" asking for payment. These organisations have no role in protecting your trade marks or patents. Make sure you treat them with caution.
If you receive any communication about your IP case from anyone other than: Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), your appointed IP professional, you should treat them with caution. Particularly if they are preparing to charge you a fee for the service.