Will simply canceling the domain name registration at the registrar be good enough if I already have a site at (YYYYMLBSchedule.com) and several years worth of domains that match that pattern? I was planning on doing this for years to come so I already bought the domains and built the current year's site. I'll gladly just shut it down and cancel the registrations. I haven't heard from "the league" or anything of that nature and I'm hoping to just head it off before it even might become an issue, but if it's better for me to offer it to them first then obviously thats additional issues. I guess I'm wondering if it would show enough good faith to simply cancel it and be done with it rather than possibly drawing their attention to it.
Only your own attorney can properly advise you after learning all the facts of your particular situation. Good luck.
That sounds like a reasonably lawyerly answer. ;) Thanks for the advice you were able to provide.
Questioner, use prudence and see an attorney before giving up years of work. There are a number of ways to transition to a safer domain name. You need to see a lawyer. DO NOT do as you propose and "offer it to them" as if you do that wrong you peg yourself as a cybersquatter and just call their attention to you. Your lawyer can advise you how to do this at minimum inconvenience and lowest risk. Buying a new domain is cheap, so research it a little and come up with your own name in cooperation with your attorney, so it is properly cleared. If you get a catchy protectable servicemark for this you may actually come out ahead in the long run for having made the change.
Bruce, thanks for your comment. My code base and databases will still exist so I won't be "losing" any work, and as you imply, the site itself doesn't care what it's called. It just needs a place on the web. I'll work on a new domain name that is "safe" and perhaps TM it as well. I may even already own the perfect domain name. As far as the "league specific" names I already own I believe I will simply "disown" them via the registrar's "delete from account" tool. I'm in no mood to take any chances by keeping them, and as you said no need to draw any attention to it by even offering it to the holders of the marks. Before putting any new domain out there for this type of project I'll talk with a TM attorney about using the actual team names in the site to get an understanding of what they feel is the proper way to do it.
Questioner, contrary to Attorney Burdick's admonition, there is no downside to offering MLB the registration for the cited domain name. You've already told us that you have never published a website using the domain name. While use is not necessary for a finding of cybersquatting, there is no likelihood that MLB would file a lawsuit and incur the costs of litigating a case when you are VOLUNTARILY offering to transfer it the MLB domain name. In fact, its legal department would thank you.
Ha ha. A legal department "thanking" me. Why don't I like the sound of that?
I say that somewhat in jest, but at the same time I have no intention of doing anything other than letting sleeping dogs lie and getting out of their yard asap. They might like it if I bring them a bone, but if it could even conceivably cost me a limb then why chance it... especially when at most they'd give me a wag or two of the tail and then watch me suspiciously as I exited the premises (that's their job and I don't fault them for it).