To the attention of fellow lawyers and law firms dealing with copyright and intellectual property law – since recently the Internet has been witnessing a scam that could cause substantial financial loss to lawyers/ law firms.
The scam takes place in the following order - a lawyer or a law firm receives an e-mail from a foreign publishing company (often from the Far East - Japan, China, etc.). It states that the company considers filing a copyright infringement claim against a Bulgarian company. At this stage, the Bulgarian company is not mentioned by the foreign company, which asks whether the lawyer/ law firm would perform a conflict check. In case the lawyer/ law firm expresses his/her/its eagerness to take the case, the foreign company sends the name of the Bulgarian company together with quite a vague copyright agreement with substantial value - a few hundred thousand euro. Meanwhile, the foreign company shows interest in the respective legal fee for the case and asks for the preparation of the so-called engagement letter by the lawyer/ law firm. Given that the lawyer/ law firm allows to be involved in this scam, setting a considerable fee and sending a written request for payment to the defaulting debtor from Bulgarian side, the lawyer/ law firm quickly receives bank checks with the lawyer/ law firm being given as their underwriter at the amount of nearly as much as claimed from the Bulgarian company. Meanwhile, the foreign company is in a delay to pay the legal fees agreed upon. The idea is that the lawyer/ law firm is expected to keep the checks (which of course are false), deduct the sum of the due legal fee and transfer the rest in cash to the foreign company in a foreign bank account. Ultimately, however, the lawyer / law firm takes from his/her/its assets enormous amounts of money, transferring it to a foreign company, in return for which he/she/it receives bad checks.