I would not have deleted them as it could take some time before they are released again and it is not sure this company can pick them up when they are released..
I also think that as long as they are not released again they are registered in your name and you are liable.
I would have handed over the domains for free depending on the nature of the domains..
Pergmon: Thanks for your reply! I deleted them because I thought it would be the best thing to do. I also I did a few whois searches on the domains in question and it just says that the Current registrar is GoDaddy and the domains have been deleted and expires in July 2009...
Then they go to the TDNAM auction after they expire. So as pergamon said, it would have been better to just transfer the domains to them...
Did you check up to see if it was real, I cant see a laywer sending a C&D with a threat for $30,000 that just doesnt seem right, usually they would give you the chance to hand them over, not always but usually.
You should of checked into it more before you deleted them, ask for more details etc...seems very strange he would word a letter saying hand them over AND give us $30K.
Any laywer would tell you, thats NOT the letter you send I am sure of that...
Ya, they can't just pull up any figure that they want out of air...
They can demand whatever they want, however your approach was not entirely correct.
Number one, you should have checked on the company, to see if it is legitimate. Next, check if they have TM's on said phrase/letters. If so, offer to transfer them but do not agree to sign anything before a lawyer looks it over, and definitely don't agree to pay anything. If not, do more homework... do they have an unregistered TM, and is it in the same class of services you used (which in this case they can't say you infringed since you didn't use it for anything according to your post)? Is it a famous TM (un-mistable like Nascar, IBM, etc)? Chances are, it wasn't a legitimate letter, so usually, if there is no registered TM and I can't find the business in any listings etc, I would ignore the request until you get a formal notice in the mail, or a notice of UDRP. In my case, they never pursued further than the email threat.
Second, whether they have a TM or not, there are many ways to avoid infringement. You can use Apple to sell computers, and also use Apple to sell guitars. Some TM's are considered famous enough that you probably wouldn't be able to do that, but they are fairly few.
Let this be a lesson... do your homework before acting/responding to a threat. Unless it's in hard copy from a legitimate lawyer, there is a fair chance it may not be real...
If they take you to court most of the time a court will not award monetary judgments in civil cases like these. You have to have really walked all over the other side to get a judgment against you. OR....you don't respond in court. Don't do that or sometimes you can get hit.
If they UDRP you for the domains, then no money will exchange hands. There is no monetary relief for either party in the UDRP process.
You should not have deleted the domains b/c it shows "intent", meaning it may look to some judges that you were trying to hide. It would have been better to work something out.
A reply letter from from a TM lawyer should only cost you a $250 to $350 usually, if it is not too involved, that is, if it should come to that. I've sent these "letters" before.
You should consult with a lawyer however, I am not one...
Thanks for all the responses!.
- It does seem to be a legit lawyer that sent the letter however I have not gotten a reply as of yet for my reply..
- The TM does seem to be known even though most (50%) people I ask privately have not heard of the site..
- Also even though I have deleted the domains in question from my account they remain in limbo for 37 days from the deletion so within those 37 days I can change my mind and do a transfer..
- The way that I intended to use the TMed phrase was totally NOT in the same class of services. I have consulted with Deborah Logan, Esq. who was recommended on another thread here and she has been nothing but helpful thus far and I highly recommend her.
You say "you've seen these letters before" how did they turn out? Were they seeking monetary damages?..