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Anyone with copyright/trademark infringement experience/knowledge

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by 80085, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. 80085

    80085 Registered Member

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    First of all, I know this is not the place to come for legal advice...Seriously now. But I am curious to see if anyone in here has any experience with with what I've got going on. Seeing how this is a black hat community, I can't imagine nobody else has gone through this.

    I recently did some keyword research and found a highly searched keyword with very low competition, and the emd was available. The keyword/emd was a mis-spelling/variation of a major national retailer, although it could be interpreted as it's own separate company name as well. Basically, it wasn't really a mis-spelling, as much of people searching for the wrong name. An example would be Fred Meyers, but instead people are searching for Freddy Meyers or Frederick Meyers. It's not a mis-spelling, as much as the consumer simply not knowing the name of the company.

    I went ahead and purchased the domain, and created a website in the same niche as the national retailer. While the colors of the website are similar, the colors used to brand are quite different, and the logos are not the same at all (the main color of the website is green, but I used a very differetn color of green). The website has been up for a month or two now and I'm just starting to get some good organic traffic. Today I received a letter from domainsbyproxy informing me that the national retailer is claiming copyright trademark infringement. In the letter, they explain how it is clear my website is made to confuse visitors into thinking it is the national retailer and that I must transfer the domain and all social media accounts to the national retailer or they will simply take me to court and take it from me.

    I don't really have any money to fight a national retailer in court over a website I've spent about 40-60 hrs on, but I'm really ticked off about losing everything and getting nothing. There is the cost of the domain, the cost of my time, the cost multiple marketing campaigns, and of course the cost of a $20 godaddy admin fee for telling me there are pending legal complaints. And they just want me to give it to them!

    I am prepared to give it all up for the sake of not having to deal with this, and without a leg to stand on, I don't really have a choice....But I would love to hear if anyone has experienced something like this, or even if someone actually has knowledge in this area, it would be great to hear your opinion. I can provide further details to anyone who actually knows what they are talking about. But like I said, I am not here for legal advice, I am here to see if any of you can just shed some valuable light on these types of situations. I have already spoken to my lawyer, who is looking over the letter right now, but there's not much to it when you don't have the money to fight a multi-billion dollar company. Clearly it's my mistake, and I honestly had a good idea something like this would happen...so I'm not too surprised.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. el_capitan

    el_capitan Junior Member

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    Hey, I don't have the answer for you but I have a way to hopefully help.

    I have used this before and it was the best 30$ i ever spent. LegalZoom has a service where you pay 30$ a month, and you get to speak to UNLIMITED business attorneys in 30 minute intervals.

    When I was starting off my business I had multiple questions/scared about being sued/possible situations/etc, and my buddy told me about this service. You can call legal zoom, you tell them you're interested in the attorney service (I believe it's called Business Gold Package??), and you set up as many consultations with attorneys as your little internet marketing heart desires.

    Then when you're done getting your answers, you cancel the service. So basically you pay about 30 dollars for something that would cost you in the thousands of dollars.

    I hope this helps.

    Don't give up bud!
     
  3. varundbest

    varundbest Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    According to me, you should change the layout of your website, so its more like you have a website with similar but not same name! For example, we have Gibson Guitars and Givson Guitars.
     
  4. subster

    subster Elite Member

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    In my country that wouldn't help. The current state is not that important if the tmowner can proof with screenshots, that you made what you have done. this is already a reason to sue and if you ger such an offer, it is an offer to reject the right of sueing you for this.
    I was in exact same situation, but it was just a related word to the product they sell. i had to redirect the domain to their site.
     
  5. J1218

    J1218 Power Member

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    I've actually had this happen to me more times than I can count by now. Only difference is, I was registering domains with the actual company name in it, not a misspelling or anything. I used to build discount sites around companies so my domains would be like "WalMartDiscounts.com" or whatever brand it was (that domain is not actually mine, it's just an example).

    Anyway, this is not legal advice and for all I know I could still get fucked down the road for it, but here is what I have done and what I would do if you want to try and keep the domain:

    1. Stop using GoDaddy. They are the worst domain registrar. When they started hitting me with these bullshit $20 "legal fees" or whatever they wanna call them (that no other registrar does by the way), I called up my bank, did a charge back for all GoDaddy charges, and put a block on them so they could never charge my card again.

    2. I then proceeded to move all of my domains over to internet.bs which is an offshore registrar in the bahamas. They are also cheaper than GoDaddy and most other registrars which is nice too. So far, I haven't had any issues with my trademarked domains that are hosted with internet.bs. And believe me, a lot of people have tried because I get the notices emailed to me from my privacy service, but internet.bs must just throw them out. I don't think they have to share any of your information with lawyers since they are not bound by US law. You can also just use all fake information when setting up your account if you want just for added protection. Say your name is Tom Green and you live on 5638 Blue Street in Los Angeles California or something.

    3. So now your domain in question has been moved away from GoDaddy to an offshore registrar and you used fake data for the contact info on the domain. Setup an offshore hosting account. I have one in Romania that I use and the owner is a really cool guy. If you want the details, just let me know. There's a handful of other ones out there too though if you wanted to do some research. A good offshore host will also just throw out any lawyer letters they receive and will not disclose any of your information.

    4. Make sure there's no email addresses on the site that link to you in any way. So if you want a contact email setup, set it up in your hosting account so it's just contact@yourdomain.com and don't use that email address on any other sites. If you use your personal email for example, they can do a Google search and see everywhere on the web where that email is used and they can find you that way.

    5. Ignore all letters/emails from the lawyers.

    Again, this is just what I have done and so far I'm good. If the domain is worth keeping to you, then you may wanna give it a shot.

    Good luck.