The Commerce Commission says businesses are under no obligation to pay an invoice being sent in the post by TM Publisher to New Zealand trade mark holders.
The invoice for $1,638 relates to an overseas trade mark registration service, which is not necessarily a service that the recipient has agreed to buy. Anyone who does not want the service has no obligation to pay the invoice.
The Commission says it is investigating TM Publisher, which is a company based overseas and purporting to offer a web-based trademark registration service.
The Commission says TM Publisher's bank account has been frozen while decisions are made about how to deal with the $200,000 in payments that have already been made into the account by New Zealand businesses.
Businesses which have paid the invoice may be able to get a refund. The Commission says they can contact on 0800 943 600 or through an online form.
"It appears that TM Publisher has used details of the businesses and their trademarks which are available from the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) website as the same details have been used in the letter. TM Publisher is not connected to IPONZ," the Commission says.