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I was contacted by someone who apparently searched the WHOIS database and said they had trademarked the domain name I own and stated that I would need to relinquish this name to them. When I searched for their trademark registration from a number they had given it ended with 0 results showing, and the guy said they trademarked this name back in '99.

Am I legally obligated to hand over the domain name to this person for no financial gain even though trademark search results come up zero, or is this guy just trying to get over on people...

Comments (14)

Have him send you all the legal documents. I have only had one domain ever that I gave up and that contained the word 'google' in it. reged the name just to see if they would push and they did. Other than that I would demand 100% proof before giving up a name...

Comment #1

Thanks. With a bit more research I found this guy's app for registration of this trademark but it was in the Colorado Trademark Database. His name and comapny info. is on the app. and all seems legit. The application was placed in '97.

My question now is do I just turn it over with nothing in return or do I retain any rights within the relm of the internet and can sell it to him?.

I checked briefly but did not come up with anything..

Comment #2

An application means nothing. Can you give us more the domain name itself? Did you get this name in a drop? He may be strong arming you to gain back his domain but it's doubtful he has a right to it. If all he is showing is an application that's crap.

And again...ownage of the domain isn't trademark infringement of itself. You would need to use it in a manner conflicting with his mark...

Comment #3

I agree with the statement if it is a commonly used word...

Comment #4

It is up to the claimant to make their case..

Just because they have a TM does not mean they automatically have a right on any domain name consisting of, or containing their TM keyword(s). They may be trying to scare you off..

It may also depend on the name and how it's been used. Difficult to elaborate further without knowing the name in question. If it's a domain that you are willing to sell it may be possible to settle a transaction (win-win)..

If you actually use the domain for your purpose (can't afford to let it go) the stakes are higher and you should ask for advice from a qualified lawyer. I would even suggest not to reply before you get some precise legal advice pertaining to your case..

Just one tip: I assume you were contacted by an individual and not a lawyer or the legal dept of a company.

Corporations that are serious about their TM will often have their lawyers send a C&D letter..

It might be somebody trying to get your name for cheap (free). Or it might be an amiable, bona fide first attempt to settle with you (and probe your intentions)..

It is possible that they don't know a lot more than you about intellectual property rights but think that just because they have a TM, they have an edge over you. Their claim may be legitimate but it does not mean you have no rights on the domain..

Comment #5

A while back I also got a request like yours from a guy in Colorado. I'll PM you to see if it's the same guy...

Comment #6

Basically, if you aren't using the domain in the same category of business as them, then even if they have a TM, they really have no right to it. For instance. if you sell pet supplies and they sell electronics... TMs are not broad in scope, they only apply to the specific category of business they are filed under. Like others have said, we'd really need to know the domain name, what you're using it for and what the other guy's business is in order to give you a realistic answer...

Comment #7

O.K. the domain is I purchased it about 3-4 months ago. When I checked this guys website last night he is using the name for one of his departments that deal with flyer miles for people who travel. I am a graphic designer by profession and create flyers everyday. I was going to shoot short commercials that resemble Live Flyers on the site to promote their events in conjunction with the flyers I produce for them so as you can see they are two totally different use for the site..

I'm wondering why this guy never snatched up the name online if he's had it TM since '97..

So I should just sit on it until he makes a second move? So far I have not contacted him until I know what my next move is. And no it wasn't his attorney who contacted me, I belive it was him himself...

Comment #8

Yer in the clear in my opinion. I would ignore this guy. If you must respond please let us help you form an educated one.

Btw...PM me his website..also I advise you get a holder page up other than the Yahoo one. That's always risky. You may want to place a description of what you are planning to do on the site...

Comment #9

Like thats been mentioned you shouldn't have a real problem here as your using it in a different category and also he must have let the name drop or sold it on obviously as he no longer has it so this will work to your advantage. Make sure you make it clear on the site what your intentions that your gonig to do with it as well. Also like the others have mentioned you should request to see all the legal documents becuase, you have to make sure hes telling the truth and not just trying to get the name off you for free or on the cheap so he can personally use it for himself...

Comment #10

He doesn't have a chance. The name is two generic words and you are obviously not diluting his "TM" by using it to produce ad flyers. Ignore him until you get contacted by a lawyer or get a UDRP document...

Comment #11

I agree for the most part. 'Micro' and 'soft' are 2 generic words, too. AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT USE THE DOMAIN IN A WAY THAT THAT MAKES IT APPEAR like his website, you are 100% safe IMO You're in the clear this guy is trying to scare you into getting a free domain. Ignore him...

Comment #12

Glad others agree...ignore him. I know the temptation may be great to respond but ignore...

Comment #13

Thanks for the info guys. I will sit on it for a bit longer to see if this guy contacts me back. On his TM application it states that he must renew by 1/27/07 - Ten years from the date he applied for the TM. I thought they lasted longer but could be mistaken...

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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