a business name previously registered is now expired. they do not hold a copyright. can i register and sell the name back to them?
First off, you're not talking about copyright law. This is a trademark matter.
Also, the expiration of a federal registration does not mean that the business now has zero rights to the name. On the contrary, it is still a very good possibility that they have common law trademark rights to the name. That means that if you attempt to register their name, they can oppose or cancel your registration on that basis.
Also, you have to actually use, or have a real intention to use the name in order to register it with the Trademark Office. It sounds like you have no real intent to use the name.
Please don't attempt to do this.
Any answer given here does not, nor is it intended to, create an attorney-client relationship. THE CHOICE OF AN ATTORNEY IS AN IMPORTANT ONE AND SHOULD NOT BE BASED SOLELY ON ADVERTISING. You may feel free to contact me via my email or phone, but I am not obligated to provide any follow-ups to my answers here. I do provide free consultations for those with trademark and copyright questions.
Probably not. If they are still in business, they still might have rights in the name.
No, first it is a trademark, not a copyright that you should be concerned about. Second, they are likely to sue you and prevail. I suggest that you retain an experienced trademark attorney before you try such a scam.
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