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Liability associated with Expired Domain Names?

Is there any liability in purchasing an expired domain name?

6:19 am on Dec 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
votes: 0

When I have purchased expired domain names in the past, at least in cases where I know there was a previous web site associated with the domain, I would use a disclaimer such as "Not affiliated with the previous owners of this domain."

In another case, I avoided purchasing a domain name and web site where the previous owners had made a bad name for themselves. I didn't want to link my sites to that kind of negativity.

Yesterday, I was searching for something entirely unrelated, not looking for domain names at all, and happened across a domain name that coordinates with my main site's domain name quite nicely.

The company had folded, which I read in a couple trade magazines. Some of their other domain names were now in the hands of some of those companies that grab expired domains to draw users to their search directories. But, this one particular domain name was unregistered and available. So, I grabbed it. ;-)

But, I am curious as to whether there is any liability with using the domain name of a folded company? From what I read, it sounds as though they simply folded and were not sold to another company. And, even if they had been sold, the fact that this domain name is unregistered for who knows how long now, would seem to indicate that any new owners don't have an interest in the domain name.

So, on the one hand, it strikes me as fair game. But, on the other hand, it's surprising that no one else had already grabbed it.

2:03 pm on Dec 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 8, 2004
votes: 0

Any new registration no matter how long it's been available since its deletion is virtually
starting out on a new slate. No domain name assigns you any legal responsibility except
to manage it, keep it, or let it go.

If you're worried about some big company ordering you to hand it over, just make sure
you're making a bona fide use for it. Then let the big company worry about proving you're
cybersquatting or any of the sort.

Not an attorney but sharing what I can.

1:37 am on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Feb 6, 2003
votes: 0

If they can't afford to keep the name or at the very least register it for less than $10 per year, I don't think they have the money to come after you for trademark infringement.

If you have legitimate use for Apple.com (say an apple grower), Apple computer couldn't even take the domain from you.