It's not fraud but it's not honest either.

Sure, it doesn't have the trademark romance of swashbuckling, wooden-legged, parrot shouldered, cutlass wielding buccaneers sailing the seven seas in search of bucksome wenches and endless loot, these pirates have a different bounty in mind. On this occasion the treasure map is a database and your business has a great big "X" on it.

Perhaps i'm being a tad dramatic? Maybe businesses like this are performing a public service by offering what in essence is a stupidity test, did you pass or fail? Either way I abhor thieves and liars. This digital world we live in, is so overloaded with opportunists that it causes my tourettes to flair and sends me in to uncontrollable eye twitching spasms. When this occurs my only therapy is to channel my anger into crudely crafted posts. 

Our recent trademark approval was a moment of joy for us, easily obtained and well priced for the protection it offers our company. We were elated to receive the notification and our brand is secure.

However it would seem that now we are now on a public list for less scrupulous business to take advantage of. We have become fair game to these mail-out scammers selling a service no one would want or need. This dubious activity is presented to look like a legitimate invoice but on closer examination is for an unsolicited service that has absolutely no value to the business whatsoever.

In this specific case, the "World Organization for Trademarks" are kindly offering a completely useless subscription to a "private database" for the princely sum of $998 (if paid before the due date, penalties apply). In fairness however, the fine print is nice enough to inform us that complaining to the bank after payment is made will not result in a refund so don't bother and for clarity this fake invoice is titled "IMPORTANT NOTIFICATION REGARDING YOUR TRADEMARK" , further proof to never trust capitalisation. As a lover of detail I do have some deeper appreciation of the inclusion of a a reference number, so authentic it must be real? These tasty flourishes are like the leather eye patch of authenticity a casual observer needs to sign on the "dotted line" or to authorise away the hard earned company doubloons. 

I am deeply saddened that planks and yardarms have become a thing of the past for the crooked plunderers of today's world, now my only hope is that these arseholes lose so much money from postage that these scams become no longer viable. Please don't be fooled, read before you pay and help stop this practice from continuing.