Over the last few weeks we have had sight of numerous letters sent to trade mark owners by “Stern Young & Partners Intellectual Property”. The letters are addressed to trade mark owners who have trade marks that are set to expire in 2020 and thus are approaching the start of the renewal period.
It is not unusual for trade mark owners to be sent such renewal “offers” or indeed other such invitations to provide unrequited services (registration of a mark in a private journal for example) and, in doing so, for the legitimate representatives to be bypassed, often to the detriment of the trade mark owner. What is different in this case is that the sender appears, based on the name of the organisation, to be a firm of IP practitioners. Further research suggests that, in fact, Stern Young & Partners is not regulated by IPReg (as one might expect), nor indeed the SRA, rather this is a company incorporated in December 2018 that lists its offices at 71-75 Shelton Street, Covent Garden – one of 27,656 companies registered to that address.
You will see one such letter here, sent to this firm in respect of its BLAKE LAPTHORN mark which is due to expire in March 2020. The fee that is proposed for the renewal is £2,790 excluding VAT. However, the official fee for this renewal (in all 6 classes) would be only £450 (no VAT). That means that Stern Young & Partners are proposing to charge £2,340 plus VAT to file the renewal – by way of an example that’s over 1,000% more than our professional costs for dealing with a UK renewal.
Trade mark owners should stay alert and vigilant to correspondence and payment requests they have received relating to their trade marks, to ensure that they do not pay over the odds for their renewals. If in doubt then we would suggest consulting a suitably regulated firm of IP specialists details of which you can find at the Intellectual Property Regulation Board or The Law Society.
If you would like any further information on this issue or have received correspondence from Stern Young & Partners Intellectual Property and are unsure as to its meaning, implications and legitimacy please contact Blake Morgan’s Intellectual Property Team.
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