There has been an increasing trend in the sending of correspondence and unlawful charges to companies and individuals that are holders of trademarks filed or registered at the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office - BPTO.
These letters, accompanied by bank-issued invoices, are sent by companies that indicate that they are related to the BPTO, or even try to act as of the actual BPTO, seeking to induce holders to pay undue final registration fees or trademark renewal fees.
However, since holders are often inexperienced with BPTO procedures, they tend to believe that these charges are in fact due and proceed with the respective payments.
It is important to clarify that all trademark related payments due to the BPTO are made through the generation of invoices on its own website. In other words, the BPTO never sends correspondence or invoices to the holders of trademark applications or registrations.
The Brazilian Federal Police has begun an investigation into the offenders, which could incur the crimes of embezzlement and documental falsification, in addition to possible indemnity civil claims.
In parallel, based on the repeated complaints, the BPTO has taken measures to prevent the practice of these crimes. It has published warnings on its website, disclosed a list of the fraudulent entities, as well as setting up a complaints channel.
Until the situation is under control by the authorities, it is important for trademark holders to always seek a lawyer or a specialist in the subject before making any BPTO related payment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.