If I didn't know better, I'd almost had a heart attack when I opened my (snail) mailbox this morning. On one and the same day, I received three letters that looked as if they were invoices for a total amount of about $7,500 (click the images for more detail):
Fortunately, I immediately recognized the letters. I had already received one right after my application for a Trademark for iText®was published.
Why do I get these letters? I've finally registered iText as a Trademark:
As you can see, the application was filed on January 13, 2010. It was published on November 30, 2010 after which I received a first letter similar to the ones above. Since february 15, I can add the ® symbol to iText (and from now on, companies will no longer be able to abuse the name, for instance in Google AdWords).
Today, only 2 days after the official registration, three different scammers try to get money from me for a worthless service. The letters have the appearance of an invoice, but take a close look at the fineprint:
- This offer for registration is not an invoice but a sollicitation without obligation to pay, unless our offer is accepted.
- This is not a bill. This is a sollicitation. You are under no obligation to pay the amount stated below, unless you accept this offer.
- This form is the offer of our company for the annual registration of your business or design mark or the identification of your services in our internet database.
None of these letters are invoices. You are asked to pay for them to put your Trademark in a private database. The fee is annual! I'm certainly not the only one who has received letters like this, see Trademark Registration Scam, Beware Trademark Fraud, and so on... WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization provides a list: WARNING: Requests for Payment of Fees. If you ever receive a letter from one of the organizations on the list, DO NOT PAY!