Beware of Internet Domain Scams

March 2012Alerts Intellectual Property Alert

Many clients have reported receiving correspondence from private companies claiming to be domain registrars and reporting that a third party is attempting to register a domain comprising the client's trademark. These notices frequently originate in China or elsewhere in Asia and claim that the purported infringing registration can be stopped by paying a fee to register the domain yourself. These notices are scams. Do not respond without first consulting your trademark attorney.

Internet registrars are under no obligation to inform trademark owners that a third party is seeking to purchase a domain comprising a registered trademark. Investigation usually reveals that the third party identified in the correspondence does not actually exist. The company sending the notice is usually a domain registrar trying to trick you into buying domains that you otherwise have no need for but feel compelled to do so to prevent the fictional third party from "stealing" your domain.

If you are interested in registering domains, particularly in other countries, please contact your attorney or a reputable domain registrar. U.S.-based registrars may be able to assist you with foreign top-level domain registrations, and your attorney can put you in contact with the right people in a foreign jurisdiction. We have many foreign law firms and reputable vendors that we work with regularly to provide such services and advice to our clients. Furthermore, many countries have restrictions on who can register top-level domains in their jurisdictions, so it is possible that a registration a scammer provides you with will be invalid. If you receive any such solicitations, please do not hesitate to contact us. A phone call or email could save you money and a headache.

If you have questions about this Alert, please contact Christopher R. Kinkade.