The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has settled an action for passing off against two companies alleged to have issued official looking letters offering to renew patent and trade mark registrations for a fee significantly higher than the fee charged by the IPO.

The two companies, Patent and Trade Mark Office and Patent and Trade Mark Organisation, and their owners, Aleksandrs Radcuks and Igors Villers, have admitted the charges and have  agreed to pay a substantial fine to the IPO.

In its suit, filed in May, the IPO claimed that customers who received the renewal letters had been misled into believing that the letters emanated from the IPO and that the Defendants’ actions damaged the Office’s good name and reputation.

Unfortunately, the practice of issuing renewal letters which give the impression of emanating from an IP Office is widespread and it is hoped that the successful outcome of this case will encourage other IP Offices to take Court action against the numerous companies who issue similar letters to unsuspecting owners of Patents and Trade Marks.