rsgalloway - 5:30 pm on Sep 8, 2010 (gmt 0)
Thank you all for the replies, very helpful and makes a lot of sense.
I'm particularly interested in the responses regarding 3rd party registration. It sounds to me like the value of the domain to any hypothetical 3rd party would be potentially affected by how they intend to leverage it, the ability of the trademark holder to enforce their rights and the 3rd party's ability to legally defend against any action.
In that case, it would be wise to research trademarks before investing heavily in a domain. Maybe that's common sense, but I wonder how many folk actually do that. Hmm.
Would the hypothetical trademark holder be wise to contact the registrar to put them (and any potential bidders) on notice, or do any arising disputes need to be resolved by filing a UDRP post-auction?