Johns Hopkins inventors and researchers occasionally receive deceptive notices from companies claiming to offer intellectual property services or requesting maintenance fee payments. These notices, which may appear to originate from a patent office or law firm, have been mailed directly to inventor homes or laboratories.

If you receive such a notice, please do not contact the source. Instead, forward it to JHTV so we can review the notice and take proper action. You are not required to take further action.

JHTV is responsible for all fees associated with Johns Hopkins-owned intellectual property, and they are either paid directly through the Technology Transfer Office or through authorized law firms and companies. As the Johns Hopkins University neither endorses nor utilizes companies that provide direct, unsolicited notice to our faculty and researchers, you will never be contacted directly about these fees.

This is a global issue and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has labeled this practice as “unscrupulous.” Its website states, “WIPO continues to raise awareness about these fraudulent schemes and work with governments to take action against those responsible.”

If you are interested in learning more, you can visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and WIPO websites to read the official warning regarding this subject. There you will also find links to many international patent offices that have posted similar warnings and examples of these types of notices.