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Thread: Can I Make Them Hand Over .com Address

  1. #1
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    Can I Make Them Hand Over .com Address

    Hi All,

    If someone is sitting on a domain name (so not actual website exists they have just registered the name) just to purley make money can I force them to seel it to me if I already have the co.uk equivalent with a legit business setup?


  2. #2
    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    It is possible to use the ICANN rules to force someone to hand over a ,com domain, but your claim may be weakened because you are using the co.uk, not another ICANN domain. There was a case recently where someone acquired a really good domain that was being squatted, because they had been trading on a similar domain for some time (example: call the domain Widgets, they were using eWidgets).

    In US law you can claim to have established a trade mark if you have used a domain for trading for some time without objection. The time is never less than 18 months, and two years is really the minimum for legal establishment. Because we are talking US law, the other party could claim that using a co.uk is not relevant. You would have a better chance if you were trading on the .net, .org, or .info, or a similarly named .com .

    What I would do:
    I would acquire a free to register ICANN domain, either exactName.net/org/info or VerySImilarName.com - this is initially as "insurance".

    I would try making an offer to the person holding the .com, feebly blustering that I might acquire the domain by legal means, but it would save time and money if he sold me the domain for $600. If he counters by asking for anything up to $2k, it is still probably worth buying the domain at that price.

    If you really do have to go through the process there will be legal costs involved and the costs of making an ICANN appeal - you should find out what that could cost you.

    If he doesn't make any offer you consider acceptable, you then set up a parallel business site on the alternative domain you bought as "insurance" - or you make that your main domain and redirect the co.uk to it. After two years of trading on that domain you are in a strong position to argue your point, if the .com is still not being used. So you make another offer, and invoke the ICANN procedure if it is not accepted. You try the offer first because the ICANN procedure runs exceeding slow, like the mills of God. You don't actually mention/name the procedure because that could tip him off as to what you are intending.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, just an observer of what happens. And it does take years if you can't persuade him to sell.

    Just for info purposes - that establishment of a trademark by usage under US law is why some trade marks are followed by "TM". TM is used for trademarks established by usage, the circled "R" indicates a registered trade mark.
    Last edited by crabfoot; 10 August 2013 at 3:20 pm.

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  4. #3
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    Most domainers will react badly to an approach that threatens/suggests legal action. They will likely either up their price significantly, or refuse to negotiate at all.
    Without knowing the name you seek, I couldn't advise a UDRP through ICANN. You may well lose, at which point the owner of the domain will be unlikely to sell you it for anything less than an outrageous sum. And, considering you just tried to take the name by force, that would be perfectly understandable.
    If the domain is not a trademark infringement, you have no rights to it at all. The best approach is simply to make an offer. Have you tried that?

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Fish For This Useful Post:

    crabfoot (11 August 2013), Dave McM (11 August 2013)

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    Also consider that not having a website on a domain doesn't necessarily imply it is not being used (i.e., it could be used for email, ftp/sftp, shell acccess, database, DNS, special applications that run on different ports, or on an internal LAN behind the DMZ).

  7. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to buysellbrowse For This Useful Post:

    Chabrenas (5 September 2013), Clinton (5 September 2013), crabfoot (5 September 2013), Fish (13 September 2013), SusanH (10 September 2013)

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