I recently purchased a .net domain because I couldn't get the .com domain. Haven't put anything on the site yet, no time.
Yesterday I get a certified letter from a law firm telling me the owner of the .com domain is demanding I hand over the .net domain immediately because I'm infringing on their trademark. They are also demanding any domains that have the four letters of the .com I hand them over if I have any.
Can they legally do that?
I don't have anything on the website yet and never started anything, seems unrealistic that they never attempted to purchase the .net or any of the other domains but now that I have I'm in violation of the law. Further, they have still not purchased any of the other options of the domain like .co etc, etc....
They're trying to scare you. A lawyer cannot unilaterally declare that you are infringing a trademark; that's for a judge to decide. The lawyer is gambling that you do not know this.
Did they bother to mention what the supposedly infringed trademark is? If you are in the US, the USPTO has a nice website with search functions intended for humans (that is, as opposed to patent attorneys). You can look up the trademark.
Quite a bit depends on facts that, in the absence of, it's very hard to offer guidance BUT, in the presence of (posting those facts here, in your thread) you could be putting a bullseye on your forehead for the purpose of future litigation that might wipe you out financially.
The most worthwhile advice we can offer you is "talk to an IP lawyer", which will probably cost more than the domain name is worth to you, which is probably why you're seeking our otherwise feckless assistance.
Sorry. We labor to be feckful, but in the case of legal opinions less seems to be our lot in life. Failing all else we hope our presentation of non-advice will at least cause some to smack their heads, chortle and confess to themselves "What was I thinking?!" :-/