Last year I started a software company in India and was busy minding my own business when I got a letter from the lawyers of one of India's top IT companies stating that my company name was violating their client's trademark. So I changed my company name and thought that the problem was sorted out. That was 4 months ago. This week I received another letter form the same lawyers saying that I should transfer the domain name to their clients, free of cost.
My lawyer says that legally they cannot ask me to transfer the domain name since they cannot prove that I registered the domain name in bad faith or to squat on it. I actually had a valid company under that name and did business. However they can make my life miserable by dragging me to court. I dont have the time nor the patience to take this matter further. Neither do I want to let them bully me into handing over the domain name to them. I have had enough trouble and lost enough money changing my company name.
Any help in terms of legal advice or past experience to help me build my defense will be appreciated.
I want to get rid of the domain name. If anybody is interested in buying the name, please contact me at email@example.com. I will send you information on the domain name and the IT company.
If you buy a domian it is yours and they can do nothing about it, if they are that powerful and wanted it that bad they would have bought it themselves in the first place like most big companies do to stop people from cashing in on their name, if the domain was up for grabs and you bought it legally there is NOTHING at all they can do about it, I would ignore them.
If they have a trademark on the name, they may have a case, though failing to get the domain immediately and wanting it free of charge might weaken that case. You should read the UDRP or appropriate policy for your TLD.
"If youíre not using valid HTML, then you havenít created a Web page. You may have created something else, but it isnít a Web page." - Joe Clark
I agree with Marra. We actually had a kid at my school that set up a fake website for the school using .com instead of .edu. They posted a lot of stuff about the school that they didn't want heard and they were forced to settle (thank god for the internet being free speech). The school paid the kid $500,000 for the website and now it's a redirector.
From what I hear of the story the kid went out and bought nearly 400 websites for schools that didn't take the .com for their school and did similar things. He owns his own web-hosting / networking company now and has one of the nicer houses in the city.
If I were you, I would go find a good lawyer and tell them that the company is trying to sponge in on your legally paid website that you bought for a company you were starting up. I am sure that they would love to drag your company to court for the harassment charges that you can file against them. Personally, I would keep the site and let them whine about it for a while... but I don't like people...
I agree with wamboid, don't give in. Notify them that you OWN it, so it's legally yours, and if they want it, they can buy it. Also drop the hint that if they continue to bug you with threats of legal action, you will press charges against them on the grounds of harassment. Big companies don't like bad publicity, and the 'persecution' (as you should dramatically call it) of an individual and his/her rightfully owned property would not go well for their public relations. Basically, I'd tell 'em to pay up or f*** off. (try and be a bit nicer about it though) Let them know that you know your rights and will not be trod upon by a big corporation.
Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.
Faster than an OC-48 Line! More powerful than an AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 Processor! Able to jump entire forums in a single bound!
If it is a big company and you violate their trademark, you might have to give up the website. If your company is registered in India and they have their trademark registered in India, you won't stand much of a chance. If they would be an American company and their trademark would be registered in the US only, but you operate the site in India, the case would be different.
However, you should consider the financial burden you have to go through when it comes to a legal battle. Is the domain name worth it? If so, fight, if not..transfer the domain.
Tell them you will sell it to them for what it cost you to change your company name, redo all your advertising materials, and redo your website. Be prepared to supply documentation for these costs. This would be a reasonable solution to the problem for both of you.