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I am seeking advice but am wondering what to do in the worst case scenario... as I sure can't afford a huge legal bill... I have built up numerous links and am gracing page 1 of Google with some good traffic and fair income... is there anyway I can retain the 'goodwill + incoming links' that I have built up over the past 4 years with the website of xyzgreenwidgets.com and no it isn't a rip off from the Big Brother.. just the Big Brother flexing their muscles...
I gather the xyz.com was first registered in or about 1998... anyone any help would be greatly appreciated...
I am operating a legitimate business. I do not misrepresent the business in any way and I have no reason to believe that my customers are confused as to the ownership of the domain name. If you wish to make me a sensible, commercial offer for the domain name and/or the website, I will consider it, otherwise I consider this matter closed.
I might have missed something, but I think this single paragraph covers all the points necessary. Paying a lawyer to dress it up may be worthwhile.
The use to which you have put the domain matters a lot, as well. Are your green widgets the same as theirs, and does your website look at all similar to theirs?
but does it matter who registered with?
I cannot comment on your particular case without knowing the specifics, and encourage you to seek professional legal advice.
If you do have to give up the domain name, a 301 redirect will send all traffic to your new domain. Just be sure that you can keep the 301 up for a few months (at a minimum) so you don't lose out on too much traffic.
However this is something else to run past your lawyer before you actually do it. (Especially if the other party has at any point requested that you NOT do so.)
Certainly, you should plan for the worst, but caving in is not your only option. You can defend yourself in court, you may even be able to submit your arguments in a written form for consideration by a judge. It is standard practice that big companies try to win by intimidation - don't be intimidated. If you believe you have right on your side you should fight. If you can't afford legal costs then do it yourself. Even if you loose, you will learn a great deal from the exercise.
Others may correct me, but assuming you get past the temporary injunction, you'll be served with court papers, you'll have to respond by saying that you intend to contest the case, a date will then be set and you'll have have to make your case. So far, I've fought all my battles out of court, but I think that's more or less how it works. There is a risk that costs could be awarded against you (meaning that you have to pay their costs) but in the circumstances, it would be a hardhearted judge that made that call (but you should be polite and reasonable - you must avoid appearing to be belligerent).