Domain name extortion
I own a .com domain name which I purchased back in 2003. Last October I was contacted by mail and by phone by a man wanting to buy this domain name. After haggling the price down to $3500 I said send me a check and I might consider it. A month later I receive a 15-page document where they want me to basically release all and was too ''legaleze'' for my simple taste. So I called the man and told him that I don't want to sell this name because I want to use it for my own needs which is a future website in the making. He was mad and threatening. Three months later, I received a 16-page document claiming that I have to sell my domain name for $3,500 because they have a business with that name but with hyphens in between. They also claim that I shouldn't have bought all the rest of the corresponding .net .org .info names. What right do they have to tell me that I have to sell my domain name and what legal rights do I have?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Domain name
These cases are fact specific. You need to determine if the domain name is also a registered trademark used by the other party.
If your domain name is the same as their trademark, they may initiate a complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.
This policy has been adopted by all accredited domain-name registrars for domain names ending in .com, .net, and .org. It has also been adopted by certain managers of country-code top-level domains (e.g., .nu, .tv, .ws). See www.icann.org/dndr/udrp/policy.htm for the full policy.
In addition, the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999 may provide civil remedies for bad faith use of a domain name.
There could also be traditional trademark infringement claims made by the other party, as well, depending upon the specific facts of your case.
You should contact an intellectual property lawyer to discuss the particular facts of your case to determine your rights and any potential liability. You may give me a call if you wish to discuss your case in greater detail.
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