Domain Name SlammingWritten by Richard Lowe
Today I received a notice in mail claiming that my domain name was about to expire. The letter was written in extremely alarming terms, as if my entire world would be destroyed forever if I was stupid enough to allow name to expire. The letter made it clear that I could renew immediately and should, because if domain expired I would, of course, lose it and thus life as I knew it would come to a close.
Closer examination revealed that document was not from my domain registrar at all. In fact, it was from some company that I had never heard of before. The letter certainly looked official and important, but in reality it was just more junk mail.
Okay, first question: how had these idiots gotten my home address? Simple. As it turns out, this is a common practice among some of less ethical domain registrars. Using WHOIS database, they get a list of all of domain names about to expire, then send a letter to each address explaining this fact and offering to renew domain.
The WHOIS database is a list of each domain name that exists on internet, along with name and address (and some other information) of each owner. This information is public knowledge, freely available to anyone.
What would have happened if I had sent a check to domain registrar to pay for a renewal? It would have been transferred to new registrar. If I had not read letter carefully, I probably would not have realized that I was not just renewing my domain, I was transferring my domain to a new registrar.
Is Your Domain Name A Trademark Infringement?Written by Shelley Lowery
I recently received an email from a concerned, fellow Internet business owner, asking for my opinion on an issue that could literally destroy his Internet business and business of several other domains involved.
He had received legal notice from a prominent company, stating that he needed to relinquish his use and rights to his web site domain name because it contained three letters that infringed upon their trademark and their domain name. This same company also contacted several other Internet business owners and made similar demands.
Should a company that registers a specific trademark have ability to destroy numerous businesses that legitimately registered domain names? Should a company that registers a trademark have responsibility of ensuring that a domain name registration agency doesn't issue domain names that may be a trademark infringement? Or should an Internet business have responsibility of making sure a potential name doesn't Infringe upon a registered trademark? Where does responsibility lie?
Ultimately, responsibility lies with domain name registrant, as trademark laws that apply in hard copy world also apply on Internet.
Any company that registers a trademark has right to protect their trademark and has right to notify you that your domain name is infringing upon their trademark. Why? If your domain name has potential of confusing public into thinking trademark holder is somehow affiliated with your web site, they may bring infringement claims against you. The courts would have to make decision based upon trademark laws and if your domain name, in fact, has potential of confusing public.
Domain name registrants can protect themselves as well. If you have a registered domain name that doesn't infringe upon any trademarks, you too may be able to register a trademark. Registering a domain name as a trademark isn't easy, but it can be done. Although you can't register http://www.or .com, if use of your name fits laws criteria, it can be registered. You should consult with an attorney familiar with Internet, trademarks and laws prior to registering your domain name as a trademark. For a complete explanation, visit: