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We received a notice from that the domain name we have is their registered trademark.
They filed a case with National Arbitration Forum and the forum ruled it in our favor and we did'nt have to transfer the domain.
After a month of this ruling, an attorney from that organization has contacted us asking us to come up with a price at which to sell the domain. He also mentioned that if we refuse to sell the domain - they will be forced to take us to Court (for reason I'm not aware of). He also mentioned they dont want to go to court because it will involve a lot of time and money - so they want to settle outside the court. He also ended up mentioning that if they go to court - it will cost them anywhere between $60K to $350K
I am willing to sell the domain if they make a serious offer. But I'm not sure what is the maximum they will pay for this domain.
Should I contact a lawyer to negotiate the price. Any advice would be appreciated.
[edited by: Webwork at 2:23 am (utc) on July 11, 2007]
[edit reason] Charter [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]
I don't know how the National Arbitration Forum ruling would affect a WIPO domain dispute. Maybe someone on here could say whether WIPO could rule against you even after winning an arbitration.
Is this an investment domain or is it part of an active business? Also, is it a generic/keyword domain or a unique phrase? If it's an investment/parked domain, how many "right buyers" are there out there and what is that domain worth to them? If it's part of an active business, then you may could leverage it for a higher amount saying that you will have to "rebrand" your business.
[edited by: Webwork at 2:24 am (utc) on July 11, 2007]
[edit reason] Charter [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]
Talk to a lawyer, preferably one that routinely handles WIPO/NAF domain name disputes on behalf of the domain holder. They will be far better able to guide you than we ever will in a public forum.
The very fact that you are seeking guidance here suggests that you really need legal counsel.
Even though the arbitration is over it isn't a final adjudication. Anything you say - especially publicly or possibly even in the course of communications with the trademark holder - can or may be used against you in a court of law. There are rules that may protect you in regards to "settlement discussions" but you better know how they apply.
always end up the loser
And, when it comes to dealing with people in litigation, I always enjoy, relax and find it easier to deal with people who have absolute ideas. It just clears things right up, lends focus and certainty to the process and inevitably leads to a jury or judicial verdict . . . that supports someone being on the right side and someone being on the wrong side . . . until an appeals court sets aside that verdict and the case is re-tried . . . and . . .
Well, almost always.
You want to know my "always advice"?
Always listen and watch closely, keep an open mind, be circumspect, invite input from outsiders - ordinary folks = representative of likely jury pool members - and treat every person and every case as unique, because every one is, and the minute I forget that is the minute that I stop listening and watching closely, stop keeping an open mind, . . .
People and behavior are predictible, based on patterns, but predictions based on patterns don't control outcomes. That's what keeps life from being entirely boring . . and predictible. ;)
[edited by: Webwork at 12:12 pm (utc) on July 17, 2007]
That could be a scare tactic, insinuating that they'll also sue the domain owner for losses (including the 60K to 250K).
To the OP:
You won the initial case because either they own the name, but you own the .com (they have a TM on example company but you own example.com) *or* you owned the domain before they registered the company for a TM. The latter would make the domain 100% yours and no one can take it.
They threw a number at you, it doesn't sound like a cost to them but more of an offer to you. They want to settle without going to court. Most likely, if he was telling you what their costs would be, they were low-balling it to pay the least for the domain from you (most people would settle on a price that is less than the legal costs of the court battle).
Look at your domain, are you using it? If not, I'd say sell in their $$$ range they mentioned for the legal fees (go high to leave lots of room for negotiations). If you do use it, look at it as if you're selling a business. It may be worth a lot more than the $350K high end that the mentioned and if you can show that you do legally have the right to the domain (as mentioned above) and are making money off it, you might be able to charge a lot more than their high end "cost".
It also sounds like their attorney is trying to push you (not uncommon) into something you don't (or won't) want. They want to get your domain for the lowest possible price. Look at your options, income from that paticular domain, hits, and so on and if you are willing to sell the domain, come up with a high (but reasonable) offer to leave room for negotiations (or estra $$$ in your pocket).
Microsoft replied back, offering to pay his out-of-pocket expenses in return for the domain name. However, this came out at only $10, insulting Rowe. He responded, asking instead for $10,000. However, in doing this, he unwittingly fulfilled one of the criteria for proving a bad faith domain registration as set out in the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy... Microsoft declined the offer, and later that month sent a cease and desist order spanning 25 pages, arguing that Rowe had always intended to sell the domain name for profit
Get an attorney that is familiar with domain name issues to handle the situation and negotiation. If the price of the domain is in the range indicated, a good domain lawyer is a small investment that will likely pay huge dividends. At the same time they protect your rights and allow you to avoid pitfalls that you may fall into trying to do it on your own.