It apears the the UK IPO has recently begun to crackdown on trademark scam services. Specifically, according to their website (http://www.ipo.gov.uk/warning):
- “Trading Standards have agreed to act as the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) “legal backstop” in relation to any non-broadcast advertisers who continue to break the rules on misleading advertising.”
- “Any advertiser that persists in breaking the rules through misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair non-broadcast advertising can face referral from the ASA to Trading Standards who will consider taking legal action under consumer and business protection laws.”
- “NBC Bird & Pest Solutions Ltd recently complained to the ASA about a renewal invoice from Trademark Renewal Service Ltd. They felt the mailing was misleading as it was not clear it had been sent by a private company with no affiliation to the Intellectual Property Office. We are pleased to say that the ASA Council’s adjudication upheld the complaint. They considered the presentation of the Trademark Renewal Service Ltd mailing was misleading and ruled that it must not appear again in its current form.”
The report from the adjudication against “Trademark Renewal Service Ltd” can be found here: http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2013/6/Trademark-Renewal-Service-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_220429.aspx. In sum, the group found that “the ad was misleading because it did not make clear that TRS was a private company with no link to the IPO.” As a result, ASA “told Trademark Renewal Service Ltd to amend the layout of its mailing to ensure it did not imply it was official correspondence from a company affiliated with the IPO.”
Hopefully the USPTO and the FTC will follow in the US with similar actions against these questionable and misleading services aimed at trademark owners.