Potential Patent Fraud Alert

We have recently become aware of a scheme relating to the patent system that deceives Canadian corporations into paying thousands of dollars for services that have no value. The scheme targets companies that have applied for patent protection internationally through what is known as Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

The scheme is as follows. These entities take on the name of an official sounding international organization, such as “Worldwide Database of Trademarks and Patents” which bears a resemblance to the official World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that administers the PCT. These entities then send letters to PCT applicants and invite them to have their patent applications listed on a register for a fee. Applicants receiving these letters may be deceived into believing that the letters are from a legitimate organization involved in the international patent application filing process, and may forward the requested funds. Since the services provided by these entities are completely unrelated to the PCT process, they are of no value in advancing a PCT application.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) maintains a list with the names of organizations that have engaged in this type of misleading or fraudulent activity (http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/warning/pct_warning.html).

If you are contacted from one of these organizations, do not forward them any money. Please check with us first. We can help you report them either to WIPO, the RCMP (http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/index-eng.htm), the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/english/reportit_howtoreportfraud.html), as appropriate.

Summary by: Thomas Wong

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