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31/01/2020
20/01/2020
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FAKE RENEWAL INVOICES: SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION OF THE RECENT CASE AGAINST THE ECTO AND EPTO SCAMMERS
18/11/2020
On 29 April 2020, the Brussels Criminal Court convicted a Finnish man to four years of imprisonment for being part of a huge European scam network which sent misleading invoices on trade marks renewals.

In 2011, the Benelux Association for Trade Mark and Design Law (BMM) was informed that trade mark owners were warned about the expiration of their trade marks and the need of renewal via invoices from fictitious companies named ECTO and EPTO. ECTO and EPTO falsely gave the impression to the trade mark owners of having been contacted by an official EU organisation.

These fictitious companies charged for the renewal of one trade mark up to 3.750 Euro and payments was to be made to a Belgian bank account. The amounts were then transferred to bank accounts in Denmark, Switzerland and even Hong Kong. As a demonstration of how organised the scam network was, despite the Finnish man was arrested, his role was quickly replaced by another person and the overall amount achieved was over 1 million Euro.

The Brussels Court characterized the offenses as "bearing witness of an anti-social attitude and a course of life based solely on deception, abuse and self-enrichment to the detriment of social order and the security of trade, which are seriously disrupted by such offences".

If you would like to read the full judgement in its English translation, please click here.

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We would like to congratulate BMM on this success which will hopefully be a deterrent for other scammers and a precedent for future legal actions in this regard.

ECTA takes an active role in the fight against this type of fraud. To learn more about ECTA Anti-Scam Activities and also to report any such activity to ECTA, please visit our ECTA Anti-Scam Activities page.

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