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Domain Name Rights

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'll start by saying that I know it's dumb to ask legal questions on the internetz.

But anyways:

Our corporate domain name is less than ideal. It's long and confusing to people. It is ournamewhatwemake.com. I wish it were just ourname.com. Imagine if, I dunno, Callaway had to be callawaydrivers.com. It's not unworkable but it could be better, especially since our name is even a little more confusing than callaway. Spelling the whole thing out on the phone is painful.

The problem is that ourname.com is already owned by someone. He bought it and I suppose he's got some right to the name as it does correlate to his own name. But he hasn't put anything up there... for 10 years.

I've e-mailed the guy even offering money for the name and he has declined.

Do I have any rights at all here?
post #2 of 10
dont quote me but if you can prove your like bigger than they are, and have been around longer than they are, you can sieze the name. like if I got mcdonalds.com cause my familys name is mcdonalds I cant hold you up. Sort of like eminenet domain for internet names.
post #3 of 10
I do not know the answer, but I can tell you there are definitely trademark arguments to be made. Look up some "cyber-squatting" information and maybe that will get you somewhere.

One domain I always found interesting was: www.nissan.com

Nope, its not the car manufacturer (thats www.nissandriven.com or www.nissanusa.com), but Nissan.com has been sued by the Nissan Motor Company and on www.Nissan.com they have some information about the lawsuits.

Maybe that will be a good starting point for you?


The only experience I have in this field was when a Candidate for US Congress I was working for had his domain name (LastNameforCongress.com) taken by a guy who is in the business of actually taking names (from Federal Election Commission filings) and selling them to campaigns for like $1,000 bucks. We took a different name and ultimately my candidate backed out of the race so I dont have much to tell you from that experience other than that some people are making a business of this so maybe that means the laws arent clear and/or make it hard to win in court?
post #4 of 10
He hasn't put anything there? Does he have it redirected to another site? He could be using the domain name simply for his emails.
post #5 of 10
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
thanks lefty - that was sort of the way I had understood things, and unfortunately it doesn't look too good for me. blech.
post #7 of 10
you could try an empty threat. so basically message and say you're in the process of putting together a legal case to take the domain, you'd be willing to settle out of court for $X.
post #8 of 10
Archie Comics sent a cease-and-desist letter to a one-year-old girl named Veronica whose parents purchased veronica.org for her when she was born. I don't believe it went very far.

lefty
post #9 of 10
Alden has to use www.aldenshoe.com instead of www.alden.com which is owned by some stupid weather system company.
post #10 of 10
I reckon this isn't what you want to hear, but you could offer the guy more money. Noted venture capital investor Fred Wilson recently wrote about startups and domain names. "... Be prepared to pay up for a good domain. It is very unlikely that you'll find a great domain name these days for less than $10k. And it could cost a lot more." I gather that your company is probably not an internet startup, hence a catchy domain name isn't quite as essential. That said, if even Fred Wilson has to pay up, well...
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