I bought a couple of domain names. I have been contacted and told they are a trademarked branded website in Europe.

Asked almost 2 years ago - Albany, NY

The domains were registered by me a few years ago. I never used them to create a site. I was contacted by the company that provides my whois privacy protection and told that there was a possible legal dispute. They included a note from the trademark owner in which he basically says that he owns the trademark name for these domains and it is not legal for anyone to have them. (I have the .net and .org versions, he has the .com). My whois privacy company is requesting that me or my representative contact the complainant. My main question is, if I have someone represent me. can that person get in any trouble? I am in a situation where it's problematic for me to receive legal correspondence at my address. I have a friend who will represent me, can my friend get into trouble?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Ivan Jose Parron

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to consult with an attorney. Use Avvo to seek an intellectual property attorney.

  2. Jayson Lutzky

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Consult with an IP lawyer. You may have an issue of trademark infringement. Check AVVO find lawyer tab. Having a lawyer represent you may solve the receiving mail at your address. Your lawyer can receive mail. Also consider a PO Box to receive mail or a commercial company to receive your mail.

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  3. Louis Black

    Pro

    Contributor Level 7

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree that you would be wise to consult with an attorney whose practice focuses on trademark and copyright issues. But to give you a little guidance, it can be illegal to own a domain name that is the same or similar to a foreign trademark if you do so in "bad faith" and now that you know if a possible conflict with the owner of a foreign trademark, there could be a determination of "bad faith." Moreover, to use that name in commerce, e.g., to sell a product or service which is the same or similar to the product or service subject to the foreign trademark could also subject you to legal liability, even if the foreign trademark has not been registered in the US. This is an especially difficult issue on the Web, because websites are generally viewable worldwide. If you do want to do business using the domains you have purchased, the inexpensive answer is to pick new domains and this time do a thorough search to make sure no one is using the name for a similar business. Meanwhile, the foreign holder might take action to have your domains cancelled under ICANN rules.

    Louis E. Black is licensed to practice law solely in New York. His answers are for general information and no... more

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