Unsolicited domain name scamsPosted on
There has been an increase in the number of unsolicited emails being sent to brand owners regarding alleged attempts by third parties to register trade marks as domain names.
The unsolicited emails often come from a company in China or Hong Kong, but could come from companies anywhere. The emails advise that a third party is attempting to register a domain name which contains your registered trade mark and tries to coerce you into registering the same domain name in order to prevent the third party from obtaining the registration.
Such emails take the following, or a similar, format:
We are [name of trademark agency] in China. We have a very important issue to confirm with you. We formally received an application on [date] from [name of third party] who were applying to register the [trade mark] as internet trademark keyword and following domain names:
After our initial checking, we found the name is conflict with your company’s name or trademark, so we need to send this email to you and confirm with your company whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China? If you authorized this, we will finish the registration at once. If you did not authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we will handle this issue better. Out of the time limit we will unconditionally finish the registration for “NAME OF THIRD PARTY”.
Waiting for your reply ASAP today.
In particular, if the email specifically names the third party allegedly seeking to “register” the domain names, this indicates it is a scam, as data protection laws prevent a legitimate domain name registration company disclosing such information.
It is our advice that such emails can, in general, simply be ignored. However, if you are concerned by a particular domain name matter, please contact us and we can advise you accordingly, e.g. as to the arbitration process which should be pursued.
Furthermore, if China and Hong Kong are jurisdictions of commercial importance to you, you may wish to seek to protect your trade mark in those territories. Both jurisdictions operate registration systems on a first come, first served basis. If these are important countries to you it is therefore worth considering seeking protection for your trade mark in these jurisdictions.
Please do not hesitate to contact your usual trade mark attorney at Barker Brettell for any further information.