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GoDaddy reviews : Good idea to order GoDaddy?? Lawyers asking me to transfer my domain to them

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I own a domain that is the name of a professional athlete. I was contacted by group that represents this athlete saying it has come to their attention that I currently own the domain. They say there are Federal, State and International laws prohibiting individuals from registering domain names identical to or confusingly similar to another individuals names when the registrant has no legitimate interest in respect to that domain name and they want me to transfer the domain to them..

What are my options? Should I do?..

Comments (43)



I`d say fuck them until you get formal notice, then stand firm and offer them the domain for a "small compensation to cover your costs, lost revenue and such" but it`s hard to give advice without knowing the specifics i.e. is it worth to for them to chase you down. Just don`t go all wobbly anytime someone makes a wish lol..

Cheers..

Comment #1



That's a law I have never heard of relative to domains. Have you developed the domain geared towards that athlete? If so it's possible they may have a case. If it's parked, or developed around something unrelative to the athlete, who is to say the domain is your buddies name and that's why you registered it?..

Comment #2



Hmmm. I seem to recall, a while back, some troll sending out fake letters like that, getting domains transferred to him. I've since lost track of where I read that or heard it..

Call 'em on the phone to see if it's a real law outfit, then make them prove they have a case. If someone answers "hello" like it's a home phone, just hang up. If you get a receptionist, ask for info about the company, like you have a package to deliver or something. Address, hours, etc..

Even if they are real and try to assert they have a case, it'd be a good idea to get a free consult from a local mouthpiece, to see where you stand. I beat the threat of a patent infringement suit because I stood up to the lawyer that mailed the letter. They were trying to intimidate me and it didn't work, they didn't really have a case at all..

I wouldn't just hand it over. Make them actually serve you with a summons then, if it's real, you can hand it over and end it..

Anyone can dummy up an official looking letter these days. Do not go quietly!..

Comment #3



Imperium is right. Wait till you get a formal notice. Otherwise it's bullshit...

Comment #4



Tell them you have legitimate interest in the name because you are intending to impregnate your wife or future wife with a child by the name of Reggie Bush and you purchased the domain to honor that child...

Comment #5



I have had this domains since march 2000 and it ranks #1 in google for a lot of keyworks and has a good number of back links. I have spent a lot of time on it. I have setup the site to be a fan site and I adsense on it and a few banners. I know they are the company that represents them and they are huge. They are one of the biggest sports agents around...

Comment #6



I would legally change my name to that of the athelete and then send them a copy of my driver's license...

Comment #7



So why do people spend their time on copyright or trademarked terms? The most I'd do is arbi or a simple static site........

Comment #8

I can't decide which idea I like better lol...

Comment #9



If it's not a profitable site, just offer to sell it to them. Make the selling price a lot more than you think it's actually worth. Chances are, they will just pay it and move on. They don't want to be involved in a lawsuit anymore than you do...

Comment #10



If they contacted you via email, FUCK 'EM. If they're serious, they'll contact you via certified mail...

Comment #11

Seconded. Real cease and desist letters from lawyers come via snail mail. ALWAYS...

Comment #12



I'd say don't respond at all till you get a formal notification by certified mail. If they are real and you show an interest in selling it, you could have a very weak case if they go to WIPO. And keep a watch at the email in your whois information if they have WIPOed you. Else consider it the common scam of fake lawyers trying to grab your names for free...

Comment #13



The issue is whether you registered the domain in bad faith or not, lets assume that you didn't and you have no desire to relinquish the domain-.

I was in a similar position once except my opponent was a multi billion dollar tobacco company that will remain nameless-.

They demanded the domain transferred to them but since I have a background in law I was more than ready to fight fire with fire, I find going straight on the offensive works better than negotiation since negotiating implies guilt-in my particular case I got tired of the bullshit and responded with-.

Dear Mr XXXX,.

I am fully aware of the XXXX's trademark (number XXX7757 registered on the 10.12.1999 as well as XXX5131 and XXX1764 ) However in my particular case I am not infringing on said trademarks since I did not register the domain in bad faith, I have not exploited the trademark XXXX XXX financially and have not used it with any reference or endorsement whether official or not to the XXXXX group, I did not cybersquat and did not buy it with the intention of reselling said domain with regards to the trademark. Hence kindly do not threaten me with fallacious legal claims, XXXX XXX is a generic sentence and I have not expressed bad faith in anyway in regards to the domain name and subsequently it's trade mark in regards to XXXX products,.

Sincerely, Thomas ect..

-its been two years and they have not replied (I still own the domain).

Bear in mind that;.

I have no problem going to court if the situation escalates to that point, but I can represent myself-you might not be comfortable doing so, Most companies will not go to court over this unless they are web based and the business depends on online brand recognition, since that is not the case with regards to your particular predicament I would suggest either ignoring it [since as already stated if there were serious they would have sent a written letter] or pointing out that your intention was not to exploit the fame of said athlete for financial gain but rather as a personal website with respect of said athlete as a focal point..

Hope that helps...

Comment #14

- There is your reply. Wait for the certified mail. Then check out the office that sent it to you...

Comment #15



I've got a first class C&D coming to me as we speak, they managed to find the domain within the first 5 days so I just deleted it. Just because it's a TM doesn't mean you don't have rights to it. I'm pretty sure fan sites and suck sites can use TMs...

Comment #16



I`ve had a few of these emails and usually just ignore them till they go away.

It works for me..

Comment #17



I recently received a C&D via mail. It is the name of a corporate exec. I was thinking of putting up a site with a picture of a yorky puppy and introducing it as the newest member of our family (the name of the dog being the exec). Anyone ever actually take this further?..

Comment #18



I would not offer to sell it to them ...as that shows you may have had intent to squat.

Let them approach you about purchasing the name. That is the smarter way to do this..

-=Chipmunk=-..

Comment #19



First check if it's legit and if they are serious. As mentioned above there are people sending out fake emails like that..

If you don't give up the domain and they decide to escalate the issue, you'll most likely lose in court, since it's a name of the athlete and you have no reason for regging the name other than to profit from it. Anti cybersquatting laws allow them to demand the max $100K per domain fine. It's not worth the risk, so beware....

Comment #20



According to wikipedia.

Cybersquatting, according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad-faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price...

Comment #21



Did you have the domain name before this athlete became famous? If, so they don't have a leg to stand on.

I had a company saying they were going to buy my domain names that they had trademarked. I waited for months for my check that never came, and I never heard back from them, so alot of folks are out there scamming. They offered me $500 for the name too...

Comment #22

I love that the name of a federal law has the word "squatting" in it. That's something our forefathers never figured on, I guarandamntee it...

Comment #23



Relax, keep playing with your domain. Do all sorts of experiments. I would run down the battle and show them what your made up of. Follow the suggestion of Katoved..

Comment #24



I would say until they send you a final notice, just ignore it..

If it does come to that, I would decide if the domain is valuable enough to fight it otherwise just attempt to sell it to them.

That is generally the way most work, your case is slightly different as it's a name so I am not particuarly sure how that would work, interesting to hear though so keep us posted...

Comment #25



The following are some of the emails going back between me and an attorney:.

Many thanks for the email. We initiated a domain transfer two weeks ago but has not yet seen a response. The status of each of the domain names currently remains as client-transfer-prohibited. Please at your earliest convenience unlock each of the three domains names currently in question so that the transfer may be completed. After receiving your email today, we went ahead and reset the domain transfer. It is my understanding that you should receive an email from Hostway.com requesting you to complete the process.



Kind Regards,.

Lawyer.

1&1 is in receipt of a cease and desist letter alleging that your domain.

Name(s) and/or websites infringe on the trade and service marks of a.

Third party. Pursuant to the terms and conditions of 1&1's private.

Domain registration, 1&1 will modify the whois entry for your domain.

Names to reflect your personal information within five days of this.

E-mail..

Please see the attached copy of the cease and desist letter for contact.

Information..

Sincerely,.

Customer Compliance.

1&1 Internet Inc.

Ladies and Gentlemen:.

I am the general counsel for Inc. I am writing to you on.

Behalf of .com. The.

Aforementioned three individuals are talent of Inc. An.

Individual registered, using 1and1 as the registrar, the following three.

Three domain names: .com, .com,.

.com. The person who registered the names registered it with.

Whois protector which hides his personal information. He has contacted.

Inc on several occassions in an attempt to sell the names to.

Inc which clearly is a violation of the.

Anti-Cybersquatting Piracy Act punishable with penalties of up to.

$100,000 for each domain name. I ask that you kindly provide me with the.

Individual's contact info so I may submit court papers..

Thanks in advance,.

Lawyer.

________________.

After receiving these emails, I registered the lawyers name and asked him if HIS name is trademarked. I think asking the person or org to purchase the domain names may screw you over. Anyone that can help me with this would be greatly appreciated. I tried to contact an attorney about this:.

Internet Lawyer, Trademark Infringement Lawyer, Domain Name Dispute Specialist!.

DO NOT use this attorney, in fact crap on his shoe if you ever meet him, huge dick on the phone...

Comment #26



Seo mike's post says it all for me. "If they contacted you via email, FUCK 'EM. If they're serious, they'll contact you via certified mail." I would just ignore them or say ok sure you can have it for 50k until you get a letter in the mail from their lawyers...

Comment #27



They finally contacted me via certified mail. It is just frustrating since I have had this domain for almost 8 years and they have never said anything about it. The athlete has known about the site the whole time and has even talked about it on a radio show. It has lots of backlinks, dmoz, wikipedia, all his sponsors sites, there was even a poster they gave out with the url on it, etc. I have lost interest in it so I haven't been updating it lately and it was making $300-$1000/month with adsense. I just didn't want to deal with them so I gave it to them.

So I guess I wimped out but I would like to know what would have happened if I said no or pushed them a little harder. His official site is firstnamelastname.com and mine was firstame-lastname.com, I ranked #1 for his name. I have another domain pointed to the same site and have perm redirected it over so I am hoping it will still get some traffic. Now that they pissed me off I want to keep beat them in serps. Anyone have any tips on how to become an authoritive site?.

Anyone know how I can do a law search for cases the company has been involved in to try to see if they have actually gone to court over something similar before?..

Comment #28



If you have this for 8 years already, your domain might precede their trademark..

::emp::..

Comment #29



Dude, if your name is the same, are you fucking kidding. Do not give that domain out. Fight that shit in court, you will win guaranteed...

Comment #30



Unless you have registered .name domain there is no case...

Comment #31



I think,i'm not sure,that if they have registered company with his name,than they can open case against you,but the company have to be registered before you had your domain name..

I also had to let go some domains like: e-bay.cc microsoftconsole.com,microsoftconsoles.com,but Sony let me keep sonyconsoles.com and sonyconsole.com as long as I promote sony products.So,i don't know why they want the domain from you.Maybe your site is: athlet.com sucks big time??..

Comment #32



I have heard about the .name being illegal to register. Do you think the .com with the persons name is an issue?..

Comment #33



I just went through this as well..

One never knows what will be gone after or not..

Tough to sell what people are buying when we cant use the names in URLS, KW's or ads..

Amazes me just how upset some business get when people try to sell their stuff even their pre owned stuff...

Comment #34



I took a course in digital and cyber (mostly internet inclusive) law last semester. Off the top of my head:.

- You have the right to declare your domain as a fansite based on a trademark..

- You have the right to declare your domain as an unofficial website based on a trademark..

- You have the right to declare your domain as a parody based on a trademark..

- You have the right to declare your domain as a satire based on a trademark..

- You have the right to declare your domain as a preceding origin based on a trademark..

- You have the right to declare your domain as an UNRELATION based on a trademark. (i.e. your website is unassociated with the dude's name, like your dog is named Reggie Bush, or you're simply not talking about the same Reggie Bush)..

- You have the right to declare your domain as a parody based on a trademark..

- You have the right to declare your domain as a news item based on a trademark. (i.e. news aggregator for Reggie Bush)..

The only real vulnerability is if you're exhibiting open bad faith or trying to claim that you are the official website and breach trademarks in your content. If you look at the history of actual lawsuits involving this situation, the only time the domain was transferred was when the domain owner ran the website as though it was the official website of the trademark and got counts of public deception. Beyond that, you have a lot of ground to stand on..

I think the best way to put it is that there is no default associate by law between TRADEMARK.COM and Trademark until YOU say there is. You can own Gilette.com and sell kittens and unless you associate yourself with razor blades, you're immune..

What I would do is put a statement of unofficial association between you and trademark in a disclaimer.html in your footer next to your copyright. Make sure to use "disclaimer" somewhere on the page of the statement. Internet legal laws are really soft, but they really go a long way in immunizing web businesses and owners. You can even represent yourself in court really well if you need to since there are very few technicalities they can pull on you that you couldn't wikipedia beforehand. Enjoy it now before the internet legal system becomes a big fucking knot...

Comment #35



Thanks for that awesome post. Can you PM me so I can put you on retainer? I have a firm in Chicago that wants to represent me, but they want an arm and a leg, and they didn't even know as much as your post...

Comment #36



Yeah thanks that was a good post.

I wasn't trying to claim to be the official website, mine was just better and I didn't say I wasn't so everyone assumed it was. He didn't have a official site until a couple months ago. Even his sponsors linked to my site as his official site. I didn't say it was an unofficial website or fan site. Putting up adsense and banners didn't help either probably...

Comment #37



Duplicate your original site on a new, more generic, domain and point the other domain you mentioned you still have, at it. You may drop in the SERPs for a while but, with a little work, if you outranked them before, you can do it again..

Also, keep an eye on the domain. You gave them the domain but they're not entitled to the content. If they put up a site that has your old content on it, to try to keep it going like you had it, it's your turn to sue their asses off. The copyright on the content is yours..

I was sorry to see you rolled over and gave it to them but, it's your choice. I'd have fought it. In fact, I had an outfit try to screw me on a patent infringement deal a few years ago and I spent only about $200 with a smart lawyer to make them sit in the corner and lick their wounds. Letters from lawyers don't mean shit... letters back to them from smarter lawyers make things all better...

Comment #38



That is what I am doing. I dropped from #1 in SERPS but I am number 2 and 3. I am working on outranking them again. I checked and they are redirecting it to another site already (his official site).

I need to find a good lawyer and I'll be ready next time this happens...

Comment #39



If you're near a large city, look in the yellowpages for trademark lawyers..

I found a patent attorney near me who knows his shit and LOVES to talk. We were on the phone, initially, for more than an hour, just chatting about stuff he was interested in..

I faxed him the threatening letter, he drafted a response and mailed it and sent me a bill for $200. Just like a sore dick, you can't beat it!..

Comment #40



Jerry Springer, aka Gumbie, can you PM me with your attorneys information?.

Thanks!..

Comment #41

PM'd, but you're lucky I took the time afer you called me jerry springer. It's just springer ya doof!..

Comment #42



Thanks Springer. That guy is in Chicago but his number is disconnected...

Comment #43


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

 

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