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Beware of Domain Name Grabbers and Proactive Domain Name Registering Companies

Most recently a burgeoning NZ based wine company – which of course had registered its company name, domain name and trade mark in New Zealand – received an official looking email from an Asian based “domain name registering company”.

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This is a true story that I have encountered a number of times.

Most recently a burgeoning NZ based wine company – which of course had registered its company name, domain name and trade mark in New Zealand – received an official looking email from an Asian based “domain name registering company”.

The letter went something like:

Dear CEO& Manager,

We are a domain name registration and dispute organization in Asia which mainly deal with the global companies’ domain name registration and internet Intellectual property right protection in Asia. Currently, we have a pretty important issue needing to confirm with your company.

We received an application formally X company wanted to applied for the Internet Keyword “your brand” and some domain names through our body.

Following are all the domain names submitted by X company:

yourbrand.netyourbrand.cnyourbrand.com.cn
yourbrand.asiayourbrand.twyourbrand.hk
yourbrand.jpyourbrand.usyourbrand.de
yourbrand.co.ukyourbrand.fr

After our initial investigation, we found that these domain names and Internet Keyword applied for registration are as same as your company’s name. We hope to get the confirmation of your company because that may affect to your intellectual property on internet. I wonder whether you consigned X company to register these domain names and Internet Keyword through us? If yes, we will complete the registration on these domain names and Internet Keyword. Or you do not even know this company what so ever? Now we haven’t finished the registration of X company yet, and we have postponed this application of this company temporarily already.

In order to deal with this issue better, please contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible.

Best regards,
Domain name registering company

My advice to you is to ignore such emails and don’t bother to reply to the seemingly helpful domain name registering company.

In most instances domain names are registered on a first come first serve basis. In the event that a domain grabber does register and hold hostage a domain name to which you are entitled and that you wish to use, there are processes for dealing with such disputes.

It is not possible to register your brand as a domain name in every domain and it is probably not necessary or relevant to register your brand for all domains that are drawn to your attention.

Before hitting delete on the next message of this kind that you receive, scan the list of domain names, if there are any of interest to you, for example a domain in a country to which you are exporting your products, make a note and approach your usual domain name registrant and look into registering the domain yourself. I bet you will find that it is available and that X company has not in fact registered your brand as a domain name!

Elena Szentivanyi is a registered patent attorney in both New Zealand and Australia and a registered trade mark attorney in Australia. Elena specialises in the selection, clearance and protection of trade marks and other IP in New Zealand and beyond.

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