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I've had a derisory $xx offer from someone who seems to be an peoples rights activist kind of personality (from googling his name), for a generic 3 word name which is a popular term in it's field. There are many companies with these three words in their name preceeded by a brandable-type of name. Googling his name appears in 2 kinds of instances. In A, his complaints and over-zealousness landed him in trouble with email/domain name trademark issues. 1 article suggested he had to move between the 2 cities mention next for legal reasons. In B, the field the domain is in, there are many news posts quoting him as being from my three word generic (no tld) from either Atlanta or Dallas.

Searching USPTO's TESS shows no trademarks. Neither does Geogia's Trademarks. I'm unable to search Texas's. So, if he does have any trademarks, they're probably by prior use, although I've actually been unable to establish any direct link of him to any company with these three words in their name, (although Googling my "three word name" and "his name" provides only quotes from him over a period of several decades. I am unable to find him linked to any company in Georgia or Texas (although I wasn't 100% thorough).

So. That's the background. I don't think he's stupid. The domain, imho, based upon the amount of money swilling around this field is probably $xx,xxx. Just one company with these 3 words and a brandable first word reported sales of $8M. The total industry segment is probably circa $1B.

So. How to proceed? Ignore him? reply with a counter offer? Address/ignore the issue of the trademarks. Refer him to my Sedo/Afternic listings. Anything else?..

Comments (14)

Do you feel sympathy for that activist? Or do you prefer a simple business relation?..

Comment #1

Reply with a message saying you are wary of claims by people having a trademark on a domain you own..

Explain him that it is a popular method for criminals to strip away valuable domains from domain holders and that you know people who have received messages like these before with a follow up threat email from a "lawyer" enforcing scare tactics to obtain ownership from the domain(s). And you are not aware of any TM rights on the domain and don't see any indication of this being the case.

Keep your message respectful and courteous and professional.

Request for more information about his claimed TM rights on the domain...actual proof!.

If the claim is true and you have a domain with a TM that can cause you trouble then you can clap your hands you're even offered a price for it.

But if he can't provide proof, explain him that like any other acquisition inquiry on a generic domain you receive, an offer that meets your expectations should be made to complete an ownership transfer.

Don't ignore his email, keep the dialogue going and see where you stand on this..

Perhaps he is under the impression he has rights to the domain or he may be using scare tactics to obtain the domain from you for a cheap price.

Express your concerns and willingness to cooperate when his claims are valid and that you can't trust someone claiming he has rights to the domain out of the blue without any legal substance to back this up.

Of course all with a respectful and courteous and professional tone.

You'll know soon enough where you stand with this...

Comment #2

Ignore. His $xx offer is obviously an insult and it's obvious he isn't to be taken seriously. Actually I see no benefit in giving him an opportunity to present an argument. It opens up the possibility that you MIGHT sell it to him cheap or give it up because you are fearful of TM infringment. Show no sign of weakness. Ignore him totally.

And referring him to Sedo or counter-offering is dangerous because if he truly does have a TM then at this point you might get the cybersquatter label thrown at you.

Ignore is my 100% advice. Exactly why you should ignore him. There is no benefit in arguing with a person with this attitude...

Comment #3

If he is knowledgeable with the valuation of domains then you have a good point but you can't judge this beforehand..

I will always respond to an offer because you never know how the dialogue evolves.

If you're really interested in selling a domain you should always respond and if you're not really interested in selling then you could opt for not responding, but still I would respond. I have to disagree with that Jesse, there is no such thing as a might be possibility to sell the domain cheaply. You're behind the wheel at any time so it's your decision to sell it for any number..

And you wouldn't give it up because there is a might be possibility of TM infringement. You would give it up if his case is valid and you really are holding a problematic domain. Like I said before you don't know who you're dealing with, continue the dialogue and you'll know soon enough if there is benefit of continuation of the dialogue.

Is he truly gunning for scare tactics or is he just really naive when it comes to domains?.

Regular folks are not domainers...that they know they are insulting someone offering $XX or are deliberately trying to scare someone by mentioning a TM...and after Cowboys.com it shows that the people you would expect to have some sort of knowledge are even naive.

It takes 2 minutes of your time to reply and you know exactly where you stand and you either make a sale or it was a fluke.

If one wants to sell you need to respond...

Comment #4

If you respond make it clear that YOU will counter sue for any expenses you incur...and that him trying to get a name he doesn't have a tm on is a no no in court too.

...

Comment #5

Thank you for all your insightful responses. I'm torn between opposing views. Which is why I posted the message. I flip-flopped several times before responding like this...

Thank you for your interest in my domain, ***.com. Unfortunately, I feel your price expectation is way out of line with mine. I'm only considering serious offers in the region of $xx,xxx. For your peace of mind, any sale would be processed by escrow.com with the buyer paying the escrow fees...

Comment #6

This was his response. Which was about what I expected. We shall see...

Well, you may expect a lawsuit that will cost far in excess of that! thanks!.

... I think I won't respond to that...

Comment #7

Damion, I think I answered that in my previous post.

Ok. An observation. He seems hotheaded. Why would he offer only $xx and then threaten a lawsuit costing $xx,xxx. The offer never mentioned anything about reimbursement of reasonable expenses (no C&D). It was a straightforward offer to buy the domain.

(Maybe me too). It's going to cost him $x,xxx to even talk to a lawyer (after any initial consultation)...

Comment #8

That's all I am seeing Stub - it's clear that he's threatening but how exactly did he word his message?.

That was more my question.

Anyhow, you know where you stand at this point and it's time to put him on ignore..

Comment #9

Damion. The middle sentence was his exact and total reply...

Comment #10

Oh I see now, I thought that was part of your own post.

Definitely ignore him...

Comment #11

And I was right...should have ignored his first email...

Comment #12

We live and learn, Jesse. Most people only learn from their own mistakes, not the mistakes of others. "It won't happen like that to me" Appreciate all the advice I've received...

Comment #13

I wouldn't of even bothered to reply. Real TM holders typically send legal documents if they are serious...

Comment #14


This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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