The good folks at the China Law Blog recently discussed a common scam that occurs in China. Actually, this is a scam that is shaking down small and large companies and lone inventors all over the globe. I’ve warned against it in the US for a long time and was intrigued to see it is going full-bore here in China.
When you file or obtain trademark registrations or patents, scammers are likely to send you an invoice asking for some large sum of money in return for being “registered” in their international database of patents or trademarks. In the Chinese version of the scam, you may received a bound volume of Chinese law with an enormous invoice. Failure to pay, they will tell you in annoying repeat calls, could result in all sorts of problems. Don’t pay. Don’t waste your time with them.
In US and European versions of the scam, the invoices sometimes come from Serbia or Croatia. But they can come from anywhere. If it’s from the government where you registered or filed your IP, throw it away. Unfortunately, enough businesses and gullible inventors just routinely pay invoices without asking tough questions that the scam is successful, thus causing it to spread. Don’t be fooled. When your innovation results in being ripped off, you’re on your way to innovation fatigue. Steer clear.