Beware bogus European patent invoices

The European Patent Office (EPO) has issued a warning of approaches and requests for payment from firms purporting to publish and/or register European or International patent applications and European patents.

The EPO reports that numerous patent applicants and proprietors have reported that firms and individuals have sent them invoices inviting them to pay for the publication and/or registration of their applications and patents. Similar reports have been received from applicants who have filed international applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT applications).

These firms and individuals use names, abbreviations and/or logos designed to make it appear that the invoice has been issued by an official patent office or register. In some cases, the letters use names or logos that are confusing similarity to those of the EPO or WIPO in an attempt to give the impression that they are acting on behalf of those organisations.

The EPO and WIPO do not issue invoices and if your application has been filed for you by a patent attorney, the EPO and WIPO will not send any notification about your application (except notification of being named as an inventor) directly to you - all correspondence will be sent to your patent attorney.

If you receive anything requesting payment that is not an invoice from your patent attorney, send it to your patent attorney to check it.

Examples of invoices received in relation to European patent applications and patents can be found on the EPO website at: www.epo.org/warning.html.

Information on and examples of invoices received in relation to PCT applications can be found on the WIPO website at: www.wipo.int/pct/en/warning/pct_warning.html.