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Domain Name Dispute - Help!

Opportunistic Lawyer Messing With Me

6:13 am on Feb 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm about to sell a website and just as the sell is announced, a lawyer comes out of the woodwork - aaagh!

I bought a domain name about 2.5 years ago. I built a site and shortly after it launched some lawyer called claiming they had rights to the name due to some contract related to a previous startup venture from the dot-com days. None of this was disclosed to me when I bought the domain so I called the seller and they assured me they also were not aware of such issues. I talked with the lawyer at that time and he said he was 'just collecting information'. The matter seemed to go away and I proceeded to build the site/business.

Now, I am about to sell the site and the lawyer now suddenly appears claiming to have ownership rights again. I'm freaking out because I think he's going to screw up the deal! Either that or he's just looking for a payday and wants a cut. I assume I'd win in arbitration because (a) The domain is in the clear, (b) the seller agreed to a contract indicating they had no previous knowledge of any such issues, (c) I own the trademark related to the domain, and (b) I have been doing business with the domain for about 2 years now.

Do I need to be worried? Does anyone know of any precedent or statutes of limitations that might apply? Or any relevant attorneys I can call? Please sticky me if you think if you have any specific info I can follow up on.


6:17 am on Feb 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Can only help you with some really general advice. If you think he's bluffing, call his bluff. He's attempting to put pressure on you, make sure you put even more back on him. If your not capable of being a shark, hire one :)
12:32 pm on Feb 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If you are looking for domain name specific legal guidance - and I strongly suggest that you do - then I suggest you scan the reported opinions from WIPO and the National Arbitration Forum and fashion a list of lawyers that routinely represent domain registrants.

At this point, pursuant to the Domain Forum Charter, I am locking this thread. Good luck.

From the Charter:


1. Posting domain names or domain details is a violation of the Charter of this forum. Yet, it is exactly such details that competent legal counsel would insist on knowing before offering advice.
2. There are hundreds of jurisdictions, each with their own variation of intellectual property and trademark law.
3. Statements made in public forums can and will be used against their maker.
4. Trademark holders or their agents now, or in the future, will search domain forums for discussions triggered by their recent communications. Declaring "I was just contacted about . . " is like launching a signal flare that sends the message "I'm the one you just called".
5. Money judgments for cybersquatting, trademark violations and other intellectual property wrongs can bankrupt people and companies.
6. Threads that involve personal legal or trademark issues inevitably lead to the same conclusion: "We are neither qualified nor sufficiently informed to offer competent legal advice. Talk to a lawyer".

For these and other good reasons, from this point forward, the Domain Forum will no longer host threads related to any individual's or any company's domain trademark issues. The only place to seek opinions concerning specific legal matters, such as the ability of any party to assert trademark rights or defend against such a claim, is a law office in the proper jurisdiction.

Generalized discussions about legal issues not specific to a member's circumstances, discussions about finding or using authoritative government sources (USPTO.gov, Patent.gov.uk, WIPO, etc.), or discussions concerning significant WIPO, ICANN or court decision are proper material for discussion.

If someone posts a legal issue thread, wherein they state that they have been contacted by legal counsel for "the other side" the only advice that should be given is to strongly encourage the person to stop posting details in public forums and to immediately seek a private consultation with a lawyer.

[edited by: Webwork at 2:11 pm (utc) on Feb. 5, 2008]


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