On June 23, 2016 the District Court of Uppsala found seven people guilty of inter alia attempted fraud after the sending out of fraudulent invoices. The police and the prosecutor have been working with this investigation for almost a year and it is one of the biggest cases of its kind in Sweden. The invoices have claimed to be from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO then OHIM) with a message to the recipient to renew their trademark protection. EUIPO are a public authority and as such they are obliged to publish information about trademarks and design rights and their holders. The invoice recipient’s name, address, the trademark itself, filing date and application number is taken from EUIPO’s official website and then end up on each respective invoice. Everything from small companies to large corporations like Danske Bank has been lured into pay the invoices and the investigation had nearly 400 injured parties.
EUIPO have had problems with fake invoices being sent from Sweden and other countries under a period of time. Thus since a few years back, EUIPO have been allocating extra resources to curb this. Among other things EUIPO have set up a special department responsible for combating invoice fraud.
We at Brann encourage all holders of intellectual property rights to be extra vigilant when receiving invoices that appear to come from EUIPO, EPO, the Swedish PTO or similar authorities.
On the EUIPO webpage you may find samples of misleading invoices with a purpose of giving the impression of coming from government agencies or organizations of various kinds. https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/misleading-invoices
If you have any questions about an invoice regarding your intellectual property rights registration, renewal or maintenance do not hesitate to contact us.