Beware of Scammers – March 8, 2017

Beware of Scammers

 March 8, 2017

OTTAWA: Jim Eglinski, Member of Parliament for Yellowhead, is warning constituents to beware of emails and letters demanding payment to protect their intellectual property rights.

The Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency, has issued a press release cautioning Canadians of scammers who are exploiting business owners’ desires to protect their intellectual property by sending official-looking “reminder notices”. These notices demand hefty fees for urgent renewals to protect ownership of trademarks and patents.

Intellectual property forms the basis of business, including names, logos, slogans, domain names, original products and inventions. To protect intellectual property from competitors and copycats, business owners can safeguard it by registering trademarks, patents, and copyrights with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIP0).

The fake notices claim to be from the CIPO and demand money to renew these intellectual property rights.

Below are some tips from the Competition Bureau to avoid falling for fake solicitations:

  • Check who sent the reminder: Emails from CIPO will come from an address ending in “@canada.ca”; letters will come from 50 Victoria St., Gatineau, QC, K1A 0C9. If the notice comes from elsewhere, it’s not from CIPO.
  • Know what you owe: The fees requested in the solicitations are usually much higher than CIPO’s fees. Check CIPO’s list of fees for a complete list of fees per service.
  • Plan ahead: Intellectual property rights need to be renewed at very specific times. For example, trademarks are renewed every 15 years and patents maintenance fees must be paid every year. To know when you are expected to renew your IP rights, consult CIPO’s list of fees.
  • Read the fine print: It may confirm that the solicitation does not come from CIPO. If still unsure, contact CIPO to confirm that the solicitation is legitimate.
  • Ask questions: If you have received an email or correspondence regarding the renewal of your trademark or patent, verify that it is legitimate by contacting the CIPO Client Service Centre at 1-866-997-1936, or by email at contact-contact.ic@canada.ca.

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