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Topic # 115069 12-Mar-2013 17:25
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Hi not sure where to post so hopefully I have the right forum.

First up I suppose at the moment some are considering me to be a cybersquatter, but to be honest I think the organisation in question is a bully and I really hate bullies so I thought I would ask the geekzone family for some advice. My intention was never to be a cybersquatter, I saw a commercial opportunity so I took it.

I bought a couple of domain names last year, not really prepared to go into to much detail but a commercial entity wants them.

I have always been very open to the organisation that I owned the domain names and used them for legitimate use, very aware not to sully the trademarked brand, however due to additional circumstances the organisation now wants control of the domain names I purchased I have no idea why the names where not purchased prior. Initially they contacted me personally, they are a commercial entity so I put a commercial worth on the sites. No further negotiation was entered into, next thing I know I receive a lawyers letter offering me $500 and that I should transfer the domains immediatley, they didnt ask they demanded. Sounds like bully behaviour to me. 

Today I received a domain name commission complaint from what I can ascertain because I dont own the copyright I will probably loose, however I have invested time and money into the site and believe I should be compensated adequately not just a mere $500.

Anyone had any experience in this field? Any pointers? I have no intention of hiring a lawyer because I dont believe I have done anything illegal, we operate a first come first served ip address system.

The letter from DNC states I have 15 days to respond.
Regards
AB

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  Reply # 778711 12-Mar-2013 17:42
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Without more details, we can't comment. IANAL, but if the name is trademarked, you should have checked this prior to registering the domain. That is what you should have done prior to putting money into it, although not sure what you mean by putting money into it. From what you have said, you sound like you have decided that you have a weak case, but they do have a dispute service so, you can use that. But you are probably best to get legal advice. Maybe the CAB?

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  Reply # 778719 12-Mar-2013 17:54
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Have a read of http://dnc.org.nz/decisions which are all the decisions made by the DNC in regards to domain names. It might give you an idea on how to respond to the letter from the DNC you have.

You'll see in most of them the complainant "wins" most of the time as other people are using their trademark for their domain.


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  Reply # 778721 12-Mar-2013 17:59
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Yeah, you'll generally find that a registered trademark trumps all else when it comes to domain names.

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  Reply # 778727 12-Mar-2013 18:10
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Sounds like the organisation in question is following the correct process so far, so I think the best advice has already been given... "Consult a Lawyer"

Of course, I actually suspect that the best advice (in hindsight) would have been to take the $500 offer - from the wording in your post it reallllllly sounds like you are cybersquatting and you knew it.

Cheers - N

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  Reply # 778730 12-Mar-2013 18:24
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To be honest, you do sound like a cybersquator. based on what you have said, for what other reason would you have registered them?





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  Reply # 778749 12-Mar-2013 19:04
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Hi, a company I worked for some years back when the internet was young and was IT officer for found that its company_name.co.nz had been purchased by a US clown. The company_name was trademarked and had been in business with that name for 20yrs prior. After a lot of legal issues the clown was forced in a court of law to release the domain, it cost us a lot of time and energy, it cost him over US$40k in legal bills and US court costs, doubt he stayed in that line of business much longer.

Little sympathy for your situation.

Cyril

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  Reply # 778754 12-Mar-2013 19:19
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Yup, sorry but you are the definition of a cyber squatter and you should have taken the $500. If they have a trademark you WILL lose, as well you should.

Your only option would be to go back to them and offer them for $500 each, but now they have cottoned on the DNC will rule in their favour you will likely be laughed out the door.

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  Reply # 778803 12-Mar-2013 21:12
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If you have a legitimate case to make for the domain then i would either take LennonNZ said or consult a lawyer.

$500 sounds like a token amount for them to offer, if you took it then it would save them money. If not then they likely consider you dont deserve anything and will seek it being turned over.

Personally i have been through this a few times on behalf of companies trying to get a domain that is their trademark from someone.
I have always suggested that they not pay the current holder even if it costs more in the long run unless the holder has a right to use it.

However without knowing the domain or company have no real idea if you are squatting or have a legitimate use.




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  Reply # 778818 12-Mar-2013 21:30
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There's a different case though... If their trademark is limited to certain specific use and your website is not being used in the same area then you can have a chance.

For example TreeHug has a trademark at manufacturing sporting goods and your website treehug.co.nz is about environmental issues, then there's no trademark infringement really.

But if your website use the same colours, similar logo, and tries to service the same customer base then you lose.






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  Reply # 778827 12-Mar-2013 21:37
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freitasm: There's a different case though... If their trademark is limited to certain specific use and your website is not being used in the same area then you can have a chance.

For example TreeHug has a trademark at manufacturing sporting goods and your website treehug.co.nz is about environmental issues, then there's no trademark infringement really.

But if your website use the same colours, similar logo, and tries to service the same customer base then you lose.




I don't think they are talking about the website. They are talking about the domain. 

I had a similar incident a few months ago where the developer had registered the domain which was essentially the clients name for the client but under his ownership. We had to threaten legal action and in the end he gave in for no fee, but originally we had looked at a case against him, he really had no chance.

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  Reply # 778830 12-Mar-2013 21:39
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But I don't think you will find that is the case with some brand names that are made up words like pepsi or cocacola. eg I don't think you could have 'Pepsi plumbers', because that is a name they invented.



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  Reply # 778833 12-Mar-2013 21:39
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Thank you for your replys.

Technically I am cybersquatting, however I dont believe the situation is so black & white. There where mitigating circumstances regardless as to why I bought the domains in the first place at the moment a commercial entity wants them, they have hired a lawyer and gone to the DNC.

If I contest the case and make a valid claim then I believe it goes to a expert who charges the claimant $2000 to make a judgement.

I am not too worried about loosing the name my contention is the manner in which I have been approached and dismissed with a token $500.

If I contest the issue and there is good cause to hear my argument then the claimant which is a commercial entity will have to pay legal fees from their end and the fees for the expert.

Does that sound a fair summation?

I also own the .com domain name do the DNC have any control over them given that the name was registered in NZ and currently sits with a NZ provider. 

All this could have been sorted out over a cup of tea, instead they brought lawyers in and that has pissed me off.

AB


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  Reply # 778835 12-Mar-2013 21:41
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networkn: I don't think they are talking about the website. They are talking about the domain. 


It comes down to what the domain is being used for.

networkn: I had a similar incident a few months ago where the developer had registered the domain which was essentially the clients name for the client but under his ownership. We had to threaten legal action and in the end he gave in for no fee, but originally we had looked at a case against him, he really had no chance.


This is very different. This is basically stealing really.

mattwnz: But I don't think you will find that is the case with some brand names that are made up words like pepsi or cocacola. eg I don't think you could have 'Pepsi plumbers', because that is a name they invented.


True. But we don't know what's the brand name, because the OP did not disclose. I only pointed an exception, I didn't say it apply to this specific case.





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  Reply # 778840 12-Mar-2013 21:45
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AnfieldBoy: Technically I am cybersquatting, however I dont believe the situation is so black & white. Regardless as to why I bought the domains in the first place at the moment a commercial entity wants them, they have hired a lawyer and gone to the DNC.


Reality is we only read one side of the story. From experience a lot of people here will agree there might be more that we don't know about.

You wrote: "Initially they contacted me personally, they are a commercial entity so I put a commercial worth on the sites. No further negotiation was entered into, next thing I know I receive a lawyers letter offering me $500 and that I should transfer the domains immediatley, they didnt ask they demanded. Sounds like bully behaviour to me. "

So it sounds like you tried to charge a lot more than they thought it was worth. It's in their rights to ask for help in negotiating something if they don't know how.

AnfieldBoy: If I contest the case and make a valid claim then I believe it goes to a expert who charges the claimant $2000 to make a judgement.

I am not too worried about loosing the names my contention is the manner in which I have been approached and dismissed with a token $500.


Your valid claim better be something more than "I didn't like them calling the lawyers". We don't know what's your valid claim, so really no one here could help.






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