Beware of fake invoices for fees

Beware of fake invoices for fees

Owners of trade marks, patents and designs sometimes receive offers or invoices for useless entries in registers and directories. As entries in private registers or directories are legally ineffective, we strongly advise against their use. In Switzerland, only entries in the IP registers maintained by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property are legally binding.
Also problematic are unrequested offers for expansion and extension of protection rights. Monitor critically who you empower to administer your protection rights and do not authorise any unknown person. Whoever signs the often official-looking documents without critical examination or pays the relevant invoices could be in for an unpleasant surprise.

At present, we are aware of the following untrustworthy providers in particular:

See also the examples on the following websites:

Since 1 April 2012, misleading offers for registrations in meaningless registers are explicitly covered by the Federal Act on Unfair Competition  (UCA Art. 3 para. 1 let. P and q (in german)). As a customer, you can also defend yourself against such scams:

  • with your own civil action or by contesting the contract; or
  • by filing a criminal complaint with the police.

You can also report the incident to various authorities, who will also undertake further steps (see UCA Art. 10, 21 and 23 as well as the corresponding ordinance (in German)):

  • consumer protection organisations who are allowed to have their own right of action
  • the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), which can take legal action in the public interest for the Swiss Confederation and can work together with foreign supervisory authorities.

For further information:
Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property
David Stärkle
Tel. +41 31 377 72 37
Fax +41 31 377 79 03

Last modified:27.04.2017 16:17



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