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[edited by: Taltos at 1:19 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2009]
2. Yes, they could prosecute if you used the name to host a site in direct competition to them. This would be infinging their trademark. It would have been different if you had been hosting a website in their field prior to them registering the trademark - you would need to contact the Trademark office and object to their trademark.
If it is <made up word>.com I would just sell for whatever I could get, buy another domain and carry on.
If it was <my business name>.com and I hadn't got round to putting a business website online - I would be objecting to the trademark and taking every other legal action to protect my ownership of that domain.
In the case of a family name you could for instance consider selling the .com and switching to .org or .name.
It all depends on how attached you are to the name, and how relucatant to sell?
The real question is, are you willing to sell? And if so, for how much? If it's a price you're happy with, then everyone will win.
It might mean a bit of grief moving all the stuff around and informing clients of a new address but if they offer a good price fine otherwise its a lot of hassle for only $2000 ...
This puts you in the perfect bargaining position - you don't need to do a deal (indeed don't want to) - they do (probably must).
Make it clear you use it for business purposes and would incur substantial costs to change to a new domain, and then give them a figure that would make it worth your time.
Don't know what that figure would be for you, but I had a similar offer a few years back for a domain I was using just for limited business email and we settled on an equivalent of around $10,000. (it was a .com that a UK company wanted to go with their .co.uk). Nowadays I'd probably ask for more.
So, don't wait for them to inch their price upwards. Just work out how much you'd like and tell them that is the firm price, with a 7 day time limit for acceptance (so they don't keep you hanging on). And if you never hear from them again, you don't care anyway, so there's nothing to lose.
I still do not comprehend this though:
They are a BIG US firm and are launching a product called "mydomain".com they have trademarked it in the US and as of Jan in the UK too.
Are these companies run by idiots with far too much money?
The first thing I ever do when considering a new product name is to check whether the domain name has been registered or not...hey ho, you might get it back if they fail!