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Advice Please: Lawyers threatening me for using "their" domain name

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by wizzkidd, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. wizzkidd

    wizzkidd Junior Member

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    Hi guys,

    I just checked my email this morning and couldnt beleive when I found myself with a letter from a lawyer company threatening me.

    I registered a .info domain only a few weeks ago (13-Jan-2011), lets call it "SxxxxxxxMortgage.info"

    In a nutshell they say that they are the owners of the brand name which has a family of marks including "Sxxxxxxx", "Sxxxxxxx Mortgage, Inc", and "Sxxxxxxx Home Motgage" since 1992.

    They say they are the the owners to the top level domain names "SxxxxxxxOnline.com" and "SxxxxxxxMortgage.com" which they use for mortgage services.

    Apparently I have registered my domain name without their clients authorization and my domain name is confusingly similar to their clients "Sxxxxxxx" family of marks. They say they investigated my domain and it appears I have no legitimate interest in the domain name or the use of their Sxxxxxxx family of marks.

    They go on to moan at me that my domain name currently displays a page that displays sponsored links to the websites of their competitors which is evidence of bad faith and use of the domain name.

    At the moment I have only got a blank wordpress installation so far with a theme rich for adsense with a few adsense adverts in place at the moment. There is no content yet. It was my intention for this to be a micro niche website with just a few articles and thats it.

    They are demanding that I transfer the domain! They ask that I confirm to them that I 'll agree to do this no later than February 2nd 2011. If they do not receive confirmation from me or I do not comply they'll have no choice but to advise their clients to pursure any and all available rights and remedies!

    They have my full details, address, telephone number and email (which they would have obtained from the WHOIS lookup). I expect a copy of this letter to arrive in the post soon too.

    WHAT DO I DO? I'm rather concerned.

    Thanks,

    Neil
     
  2. txhepoker

    txhepoker Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I went through something similiar. I refused and the other company filed a complaint and we went throigh the ICANN dispute process. I wasn't about to just let my name go just because they had lawyers. Below is the ICDR fees..

    If they were going to take it it was going to cost them!

    1​
    See Article 19 of the gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedures.

    2​
    See Article 14(b) of the gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedures.

    3​
    See Article 14(c) of the gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedures.


    International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR)

    Fees & Costs Schedule for String Confusion Objections
    (Fee Schedule)

    May 20, 2010
    Administrative Filing Fees (non-refundable)​

    • ​
    US $2750 Filing Fee; per party; per objection.

    This amount is due on all objections filed.​

    • ​
    US $12501 Case Service Fee; per party; per objection.

    This additional amount only becomes due if any type of hearing is conducted in
    accordance with Article 19 of the gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedures.
    Neutral Panel Compensation (limited to one arbitrator)​

    • ​
    US $60002 per objector/applicant.

    This is collected for all cases to be heard on documents only and includes all
    arbitrator expenses.

    • ​
    US $30003 per party.

    This is billed if any type of hearing is conducted.​
    o ​
    Same amount billed for each additional day of hearing beyond one day.

    o ​
    Includes all travel time of the neutral.

    o Does not include travel expenses which will be billed separately


    The stupid thing is that once it was transfered they let it immediately expire..

    Hope this helps...
     
  3. popcrdom29

    popcrdom29 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    In my opinion and if the email you received is legit, here's a few things to think about:

    1. Did they provide their business contact information? If not then I would be skeptical. If they did then try to call and see if it is indeed a law firm.

    2. Did they provide their clients information, the exact domain?

    3. Are you located in the same country as them? If not then their only recourse may be to complain to your host provider.

    I wouldn't transfer anything, you paid for it and it's now yours. Just make sure you don't use any information from the site in question.
     
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  4. wizzkidd

    wizzkidd Junior Member

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    > txhepoker - so did you end up tranfering it and giving it to them in the end?



     
  5. CoyoteAssassin

    CoyoteAssassin Elite Member

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    I agree with the above. If you are not in the same country, ignore or try to sell it.

    I purchased trademarked names and lawyers were after me with S&D letters. I ended up selling the domain names for the price I paid. I'm sure I could have taken this further out, but I was ready to move on.
     
  6. katara

    katara Regular Member

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    if u live in usa or eu u have to worry

    if not dont care about any threat
     
  7. Nomak12

    Nomak12 Registered Member

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    OP...if I were you I'd try and sell it to them. If the fees mentioned are true and they're prepared to do it, it'll surely be cheaper & easier to just buy it.

    If not, screw them. what have you got to lose?
    Tell us what the domain is...I'd be happy to take them on :D:D
     
  8. ┼blackrat┼

    ┼blackrat┼ Senior Member

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    If you want to keep it badly, set a page politely saying bad things about their business and how they treat people trying to make a buck online. Let it online and call them to see it. Tell ´em you´re gonna backlink it to hell and rank above their site if they don´t let you alone.

    Blackmail in modern ages heheh

    It´s a .info man

    Not worth the headache. If you were making money off of it already then maybe.

    As the above poster stated, you can try and turn the tables by proposing to sell the domain using the fees as a trump card.
     
  9. wizzkidd

    wizzkidd Junior Member

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    > popcrdom29 -

    1. They (the law firm) provided their full address, telephone number, web and email address. I think its legit.

    2. They provided their clients domain names that they have (2 domain names), one of which is exactly the same as what i registered apart from my TLD was .info

    3. I'm from the UK, they're from the US. I have about 50 sites on my hosts (which are US based) and wouldnt want to risk them all if I am in the wrong (or have no ground to stand on).

    4. They say im promoting competition on my site ...it just adsense working with the keywords bought by publishers, its not my doing. So thats probably why there are links to other mortgage sites. But I have no content on there yet anyway. I was going to put 2 articles on the site (like a micro niche site). But does this mean I cant talk about that company? I'd probably have to have just a couple articles about "mortgages" in general, would that be ok?

    - The .info domain was something ridiculous like $2 - so its not a big deal to give up the domain to them, but obviously if i can make money from it via adsense, then I'd rather keep it.

    What do you think?





     
  10. Knoxgates

    Knoxgates Supreme Member

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    Ask them if they have registered their business in the whole country. If not ask them to STFU
     
  11. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    Dude - just kill the domain... don't give it to them, cancel the domain in your account... they will win if they go after you and will cost you real money.

    I had something similar with a large US based company... come to think of it, two of them now, and I just asked the registrar to nix the domain.

    It's not worth the fight nor the hassle for the couple of bucks you are making from it being parked.

    Eff it and spend your energy somewhere else... you'll feel better about life in general.
     
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  12. lineguy

    lineguy Registered Member

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    I like Nomak's idea about selling it to them for less than it costs to follow through with the process. Maybe explain this to the owners though, instead of their lawyers.

    If that fails, blackrat is probably right. It's apparently not a very valuable domain, you aren't making money from it... and you didn't even have big plans for it in the first place, lol.

    Fighting it might cost you time and money, whereas letting it go won't cost you a thing, and your opportunity cost is small or nothing also.
     
  13. IronTed

    IronTed Newbie

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    Amazing.
     
  14. wizzkidd

    wizzkidd Junior Member

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    i just threw an email back at them saying pay me for it (in fancy legal wording). Lets see how good I am at blagging!

    if that fails, i'll just give it to them anyway. you're right its not worth the fight.
     
  15. blackhataffiliate

    blackhataffiliate Senior Member

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    Is the email the only correspondence you have received? I would think that if these guys were serious or actually lawyers, they would be sending you a cease and desist on letterhead from their law firm and via some courier service so that they would have proof you received it? I think this is the point I would start worrying.

    Also, start registering domains privately. It may not keep them from getting your info, but it would slow them down some.
     
  16. TheLoser

    TheLoser Registered Member

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    Something similar happened to me except I blatantly stole a banner and used it on my site. :D

    Their attornies mailed me documentation and photos of copyrights, etc. of the branding and also threatened to sue and demanded that I contact them. I simply removed the banner and didn't respond to them at all (remember that movie "Catch me if you can"?). They left me alone after that. I wouldn't mess with a company that has deep pockets, especially for some .info domain that you recently registered. It's not worth the headache!
     
  17. dbyrn

    dbyrn Power Member

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    First: stop the adwords campaign and give them a notice that you did. They can try to tell the google and google could be more then happy to ban your account

    Then if you want to f*ck with them try the following:
    1. Transfer the domain to some independent country registrar along with the hosting (e.g. Russia) under a fake whois id. Tell them that you've sold it.
    2. Put on that page every thing you want to tell them :cool: and let them drool to death.

    D.

    ... anyway do not waste to much time on a crappy domain.
     
  18. Dn100

    Dn100 Regular Member

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    Intellectual property or copyrights will only ultimately be decided in court I think.

    I had an issue several years back for a company I worked for, we had a trading name and domain name, which were similar to another companies name who traded in the same industry (there were called xxx, we were called xxx UK).

    I sought advice on the matter with the UK intellectual property office (free advice) and also did some research online. My understanding that if you set up under a name which could be classed as mis-leading/mis-interpreted for another company and you are offering/selling a similar service, you can be sought for recompense due to loss of business/copyright issues etc.

    In our situation, this other company operated in a local town we did not, and as such the matter never went any further - they could not prove people would choose us thinking we were them, or they would lose business due to this.

    I don't know exactly how this would work for a copyrighted and branded company name - I would seek some free legal advice (over here, many solicitors offer some form of free consultation for a short period of time, and can quickly advise you whether you should stand your ground, ignore them or give up now).
     
  19. carlito

    carlito BANNED BANNED

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    I am always wondering why dudes like you still register domain names without verifying if they contain trademarks or no..

    Just reverse the case, lets imagine you are the owner of a trademark, will you let every moron register a domain name including your TM and do what they want with it?

    The idea of selling them the domain is the worst idea of this thread, it is the best way to have problems. Lets think 2 seconds, you try to sell the owner something which already belongs to him.. :confused:

    The only way to avoid pbl (but it is too late) would have been to register it on a full anonymous host, located in another country than yours.

    Come on mate, just give them back this domain name and sleep in peace. There are many other ways to make money in a cooler maneer.
     
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  20. teeniegenie

    teeniegenie Supreme Member

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    Blackratt makes a good point. Even if the law is on your side, is it worth trying to keep a random mortgage company ".info" domain with their attorneys breathing down your neck? You'll spend a lot of time and effort (and probably money too) fighting over the site. If you have money to spend and want to dig in your heels, go to war with them. Otherwise, swallow your pride and move on.
     
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