Media Releases

Commission recoups money for New Zealand trade mark holders

2 May 2016

The Commission has reached an interim agreement with TM Publisher, an overseas company who sent invoices for unsolicited services to New Zealand trade mark holders.

Under the interim court enforceable undertakings TM Publisher has agreed that anyone who paid the invoice from 6 April 2016 will be refunded directly by ANZ bank.

The Commission is still in negotiations with TM Publisher about payments it received before 6 April 2016. If your business paid this invoice before this date, the Commission would like to hear from you on 0800 943 600 or through our online form.

TM Publisher’s bank account was frozen in March 2016. It contained over $200,000 in payments from New Zealand businesses.

The invoice relates to an overseas, web-based trade mark publication service. It is not connected to the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). The invoice does not make clear that the recipient does not have to pay for the services.

Commerce Commission Head of Investigations Ritchie Hutton says that the Commission has worked quickly to secure a refund for consumers.

“Many of the businesses that we have spoken with have not realised that they had paid for an online publication for their trade mark. They have also been misled because they thought they were required to pay the invoice.”

“We urge companies to come forward if they were mistaken over what the payment was for and want a refund,” he said.

Background

You can see a copy of TM Publisher invoice on the IPONZ website here.

Last year the Commission warned businesses about receiving unsolicited mail from two traders; Corporate Portal New Zealand and Global Map Index. Complainants reported being misled into signing up to an expensive contract for an online directory service which they thought was free.

You can read more about these examples and our other scams and warnings here.