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Domain Name Hijacking! Copyrighted Domains

Domain Name Hijacking! Copyrighted Domains

Thousands of small business webmasters briefly lose their domain names at expiration, due to a simple lack of understanding about the roles of three key players in the drama: domain name registrars, web hosts and internet service providers. Fortunately for most, they learn quickly how to save their web site from oblivion by using the 30 day redemption period for expired domain names enforced by ICANN. One simple solution is to extend domain registration for the maximum ten years. The other solution is to treat domain registrar data as the critical business element it is.

Search the WHOIS database to see who your Registrar is on your business domain! Transfer your domain name to take advantage of our lower prices.

I Can't Remember Where I Purchased My Domain Name!

It wasn't until my third client had called asking how to regain control of her domain name that I realized that it was a common problem for small business webmasters to forget where they had registered their domains. WHOIS my registrar? Why didn't I get an email about renewal? Why did my site stop working today?

People rarely realize how important it is to keep their domain registrar notified of changes to their email address and and other contact information. The registrar will send renewal notifications to the email address last on file. For most domain owners, the only time they think about contacting a registrar is the day they reserve their domain name. If they move to a new city and get a new internet service provider, it doesn't occur to them that the old email address will change and that meeans that the registrar can no longer contact them through the previous address, or phone or fax as each of them change and we rarely notify the controller of our domain of those changes.

Sometimes the first indication a business owner will have that there is a problem is the day their web site stops working. If they failed to notify their domain registrar of changed email address, they may never have received their domain renewal notice. Since many registrars honor a 30 day "redemption period" allowing expired domains to be redeemed, it may be possible to save the registration within 30 days following expiration by contacting registrars during 30 day domain redemption periods.

The following URL leads to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (AKA ICANN) discussing the grace period and redemption period rules it enforces.


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Domain Name Hijacking!

by Mike Banks Valentine

Domain names are becoming "hot" property - as in *theft* for resale. More and more companies are finding they cannot get their trademarked names as a domain name because so few good names are left. But sometimes it's outright extortion as when a Fortune 500 company name is reserved by someone that has no intention of developing a site under the domain, but simply "parks" it somewhere and waits to be contacted by the big boys to purchase the name for astronomical fees.

A more lucrative market for domain names exists in short, memorable generic names like Loans.com or Homes.com which can apply to an entire industry as can be seen in recent news.

One of the lesser known and more frustrating issues is when a small business name or new product domain name is reserved by someone hoping to make a buck or two. Here's a question faced by small business owners getting started online.

"I've trademarked a name, but the domain name is taken, it was reserved by another company right after I registered my trademark. Do I have a legal right to the domain name?"

People who do this may be doing it intentionally or innocently, but generally, you don't have a case unless you've got a long established use of the trademarked name and can prove that the registrant was intending to extort excessive fees from you in the hopes you'd buy the name back from them.

You can take it to court if you like, but it's not likely to do you any good unless you can prove that the registrant had the intent to squat on the name and not use it, hoping that you would be willing to pay excessively to get it back.

Still, the case may cost you more than it's worth.

This is an unresolved battle with more and more companies. Until laws are passed (not likely) there will be no way to protect a domain name other than being the first one to reserve it. You may have a case if they are harming your business in some way by the inappropriate use of that name. But if they are simply using for another purpose, you might consider selling them the trademark instead. ;-)

Contact the registrant of www.your-trademark.com to see who it is, there's a way to find the registered owner by going to this address and typing in the domain name.


It will return a registrant name, host name and the name servers. You might consider contacting them and simply explaining your trademark situation, your desire to own the name and then simply ask if they would consider a reasonable solution. Possibly something as simple as a suggestion that you'd like to avoid a court battle and make it worth their time to sell it to you by offering twice what they paid for it.

If they have not spent large sums developing a branding strategy for the name, they may be willing to give it up. If it's only few months old it may be possible that they haven't begun to develop their site or their strategy yet. You may be assuming the worst but then be confronted with a friendly and accomodating person willing to look for an equitable solution!

Good luck with your own names and trademarks!
Is Your Domain Name A Trademark Infringement?

By Shelley Lowery

I recently received an email from a concerned, fellow Internet business owner, asking for my opinion on an issue that could literally destroy his Internet business and the business of several other domains involved.

He had received legal notice from a prominent company, stating that he needed to relinquish his use and rights to his web site domain name because it contained three letters that infringed upon their trademark and their domain name. This same company also contacted several other Internet business owners and made similar demands.

Should a company that registers a specific trademark have the ability to destroy numerous businesses that legitimately registered domain names? Should a company that registers a trademark have the responsibility of ensuring that a domain name registration agency doesn't issue domain names that may be a trademark infringement? Or should an Internet business have the responsibility of making sure a potential name doesn't Infringe upon a registered trademark? Where does the responsibility lie?

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the domain name registrant, as the trademark laws that apply in the hard copy world also apply on the Internet.

Any company that registers a trademark has the right to protect their trademark and has the right to notify you that your domain name is infringing upon their trademark. Why? If your domain name has the potential of confusing the public into thinking the trademark holder is somehow affiliated with your web site, they may bring infringement claims against you. The courts would have to make the decision based upon the trademark laws and if your domain name, in fact, has the potential of confusing the public.

Domain name registrants can protect themselves as well. If you have a registered domain name that doesn't infringe upon any trademarks, you too may be able to register a trademark. Registering a domain name as a trademark isn't easy, but it can be done. Although you can't register the http://www.or the .com, if the use of your name fits the laws criteria, it can be registered. You should consult with an attorney familiar with the Internet, trademarks and the laws prior to registering your domain name as a trademark.

For a complete explanation, visit:


As stated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, http://www.uspto.gov/ "A mark composed of a domain name is registerable as a trademark or service mark only if it functions as a source identifier. The mark as depicted on the specimens must be presented in a manner that will be perceived by potential purchasers as indicating source and not as merely an informational indication of the domain name address used to access a web site." In other words, the use of a domain name must not be used simply as an address to direct customers to your web site, but must be used to identify the products or services of the business claiming the trademark, which provides products or services via the Internet.

If you're in the market for a domain name, you may want to consider searching the Trademark Electronic Search System, http://tess.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=login&p_lang=english&p_d=trmk prior to registering a domain name. By researching the trademark regulations and knowing your rights, whether you hold a trademark or a domain name, you may be able to avoid the possibility of litigation.

About the Author

Shelley Lowery is the moderator of Article Announce Writer and Publisher Exchange - An article announcement list providing free content to hundreds of ezines, newsletters, magazines and web sites. Writers announce your articles free. Subscribe: mailto:article_announce-subscribe@egroups.com http://www.web-source.net/articlesub.htm


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