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Legal right to .com?

12:08 am on Jun 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have a UK Ltd Company which has a name that its used as its trading title since 2002, and I've built a brand around that name.

I've registered several variations of the name as .co.uk's. and .coms

But the best .com has been idle for 2 years or so. Its recently expired and has reached pending deletion. Optimistically I was quietly hoping it might just drop and I'd get it at snapnames or similar

then surprise surprise... I've just received a mail offering me the domain for a very large sum from someone who claims ownership.
I'm pretty sure its not the previous owner
whois shows previous contacts have now changed to the registrar(?)

I've been reading some and note comments in these WebmasterWorld threads...

reading those threads, and ICANNS URDP and WIPO stuff it seems I might have some legal challenge based on my existing domains / trading name. They operated in bad faith, no right to name, bought only for profit etc

Q) do I actually have any legal right to the domain?

if so what can I do to enforce this? and would it wrong to negotiate?
if not, what can I best do to get the domain for a reasonable sum?

I realise I might need decent legal advice but informed opinion will be a help to decide best direction.

thanks for any input


1:29 am on June 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do without consulting a lawyer who is well-versed in legal issues concerning domain names, trademarks and intellectual property.

Bear in mind that the seller may not currently be the owner of the domain, they may be waiting for the domain to drop and are confident they will acquire it. Just because it is the registrar's details on the whois doesn't mean that it the registrar who are contacting you.

Does the seller propose a price that is less that the potential cost of legal action? Do you feel that the seller is holding you to ransom? If you feel the seller is acting in bad faith, then negotiation is probably out of the question as there would be no basis of trust.

12:50 pm on June 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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id agree - you don't have a leg to stand on.

Domain names are basically 1st come 1st serve.

Most of the top domain names are in fact already taken by sharks like this who try and sell the domain for more then its worth - which is a waste.

Again the internet is a law to itself.

12:56 pm on June 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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I'd certainly investigate further. If someone got it 'on the drop' then it is a new registration and if they then tried to offer it to you then that is usually substantially in your favour. Make sure you get such offers documented as well as you can - even if it means stringing him along to get something in hardcopy or fax, etc.
5:07 pm on June 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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You definitely need legal advice.

I'd guess that the change of ownership is in your favour, as they cannot claim to have a 'going concern site' that would be damaged by transferring the name to you.

The Internet IS a law unto itself ... but there are plenty of precedents to refer to on domain names - and in the UK, they tend to favour the plaintiff over the squatter.

But that's a guess; do not act without advice, as it may cost you thousands.

NB I'm not a lawyer etc., etc.

12:39 am on June 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The fact that the "dude" aka new owner sent you an email offering to sell it back to you shows all out bad faith registration what a dumb domainer.... go after it, you have the new owner by the short and curlies keep there email as evidence....against them...

1:31 am on June 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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They're already in bad faith, no legitimate use for it and asking for money from you. Save the correspondence on disk (full headers) and hard copy just in case. Here's just one case of a dispute


Do you have a registered trademark? You wouldn't need to here in the States to be enforceable but the UK may be different.