The Commerce Commission has cracked down on an overseas scam that had received over $200,000 worth of payments from New Zealand businesses.

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

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

The Commission is still in negotiations with TM Publisher about payments it received before 6 April 2016.


TM Publisher's bank account was frozen in March 2016 and the Commission said it contained over $200,000 in payments from New Zealand businesses.

The invoice sent to businesses relates to an overseas, web-based trade mark publication service, not the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ).

See an example of the scam invoice here

Commerce Commission Head of Investigations Ritchie Hutton said the invoice does not make it clear it did not have to paid.

"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."

Hutton urged any businesses that have paid the invoice to contact the Commission on 0800 943 600 or through its online form.