back to article Patent and trademark troll stung for £500k after fake renewal blitz

A scammer who pretended to be Britain’s Intellectual Property Office to demand money from IP holders has been fined half a million pounds. Trading as the “Intellectual Property Agency Ltd (IPA) – uncannily similar to the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) – Harri Mattias Jonasson blitzed fake patents and trademarks to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A ruling in the IP Enterprise Court found Jonasson guilty of trademark infringement and passing office, and ordered him to pay £500,000 plus costs."

    I'm would expect they found his company guilty and fined that, not him personally...Rinse and repeat...

    "A company trading as ‘Intellectual Property Agency Ltd (IPA)’ [referred to by the court in its judgment as IPAL; incorporated in the Seychelles with a registered office address in Mahé, Seychelles, IPAL also gave a London address in Broadgate Tower, Primrose Street, EC2, plus a forwarding address in Barcelona and an address in Brussels] and the director Mr Harri Mattias Jonasson [who lives in Stockholm, Sweden]

    So good luck recovering even a bean of that fine...

    "IPAL received a total of £1,334,234 from rightholders who responded to its Reminder form and paid out £227,724 to the IPO to renew their rights. That translates into a gross profit of £1,106,510".

    And even if they got the lot, he is still laughing....

    1. Richard Boyce

      Have an upvote. I see no deterrence in this judgement.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Facepalm

        What do you expect from the same legal system that hands driving disqualifications to those convicted of, er, driving while disqualified.

      2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Open your eyes only.

        It's called a bond

        James Bond.

        The Americans used to do a man in a suitcase version, someone tried to resurrect it a few years back.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          "the same legal system that hands driving disqualifications to those convicted of, er, driving while disqualified."

          They also generally get handed prison sentences too.

    2. sniperpaddy

      SWAP HIM FOR ASSANGE

      :)

      THE CROOK IS IN SWEDEN.

      SWAP HIM FOR ASSANGE

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "I'm would expect they found his company guilty and fined that"

      In the case of scams, it's entirely possible to go directly after the company principals. It's known as "piercing the company veil" and isn't used nearly enough when people setup companies specifically to perform illegal acts.

  2. Gareth Perch

    DVLA has scammers too

    A friend paid £95 for a driving licence renewal (officially £17.50 I think), to a site that looked very similar to the real DVLA site. They'd paid Google to be top of the search results. There are still people out there that click the first link, without realising that it's usually an advert.

    Apparently what they're doing is not illegal, even if it is purposely misleading.

    She did get the money back from Barclays (eventually) after claiming to be a victim of fraud.

    1. AndyS

      Re: DVLA has scammers too

      > She did get the money back from Barclays (eventually) after claiming to be a victim of fraud.

      Good for her. If common sense doesn't stop this sort of practice, the banks soon will once they lose enough money because of it.

      I reckon I spend 50% or more of all my disposable income on the internet. Any time it's a company I'm not familiar with, out come the credit card instead of the debit. Luckily I've never needed to use the protection that offers, but it's there if I need it.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: DVLA has scammers too

        "Any time it's a company I'm not familiar with, out come the credit card instead of the debit."

        Read the fine print. Most of the time protection is only given for amounts over £100

    2. wyatt

      Re: DVLA has scammers too

      Wife did the same, if she'd paged down and read the site she'd have seen it wasn't the DVLA as they said this themselves. However she didn't so paid just under 50 quid to be sent a form. Never received the form though..

    3. Dale 3
      Megaphone

      EHIC too

      (Public Service Announcement)

      Renewal of your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card - which replaced the old E111 form) is always FREE. I say again, there is NO CHARGE to renew your EHIC, ever. Any website which charges you a fee to renew, for any reason, is ripping you off.

      They just pocket your money and pass on your form to the proper, free NHS site. They may claim to "check your application for mistakes", but really, how would they know if you wrote your name wrong on the form? It will just take longer because it has to go through them first before it reaches the genuine NHS site; you might as well send it directly for free. And don't fall for the "fast track" or "express" scam either. That just means they sit on your form slightly less before passing it on into the exact same NHS processing queue.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next: domain scammers?

    One of the main reasons to make domain registrations go private is because it stops those domain renewal letters coming in the post. I had to advice various friends to use privacy services for their domain as they got these renewal letters which scream big about the woes befalling you if you do not renew, but mention that it is but an offer in tiny letters. They typically come in at around the 100 .. 70 days left mark, because afterwards the reminders of the actual registrar start appearing.

    At least they were smart enough to ask, usually because the prices these people want are 3x or more of what they paid last year, but there appear enough out there that just pay.

    And then there is China, where you can just register anything unless you have the company name explicitly registered in China. That's a bit like the scam they used to pull in what I believe to be South Africa where a copyright was not valid unless it had "all rights reserved" behind it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Considering this guy made significantly more than the fine in profit and he won't be going to prison I can't help feeling this is viewed as nothing more than a business with an unusual way of paying it's taxes (but at least it's paying some). I can't help feeling that we should change the law so that anyone stealing / defrauding over £100k should automatically go to jail. It's not like they committed the crime by accident.

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      What is wrong with assassination?

      When we got the SAS to deal with a couple of IRA bombers in Gibraltar was it?

      We found out later that the victims didn't repeat any more terrorist offences. In fact, I believe, they are still lying low.

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: What is wrong with assassination?

        That would be fine if we killed the murderers too.

        Oh, wait.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What is wrong with assassination?

        A contact of a contact of a contact apparently flew the Hereford people to Gibraltar. He was subsequently of the view that he hoped never, ever to meet them or any of their friends in real life.

        1. James Hughes 1

          Re: What is wrong with assassination?

          Hardest bloke I ever met was undergoing SAS selection. He didn't drink as he worried what he might do if he was drunk.

          He failed selection.

  5. Chozo

    Reports like this seriously make me wonder if trying to make an honest buck is really worth the hassle. I know what they did was wrong but you have to admit it was rather clever and a refreshing change from the plethora bogus Job Agency websites.

    BTW is it just me and lack of sleep or did anybody else read Harri Mattias as Mata Hari?

  6. sniperpaddy

    Swap him for Assange :)

    The director Mr Harri Mattias Jonasson lives in Sweden.

    Maybe they might agree to a swap for Assange ?

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: Swap him for Assange :)

      Mr. Jonasson better never set foot on UK soil...

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Swap him for Assange :)

      Only if the Ecuadorians let Mr. Jonasson in with the condition he use the same couch that Julian occupied. On second thought... ewwwwww.....

      Icon ----> hoping Mr. Jonasson has a sterile coat.

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