Merchant & Gould, an intellectual property law firm, today issued a warning for companies to be on the lookout for scammers posing as legitimate domain registrars, usually from Asia, in which they try to sell website domains based on a term or phrase trademarked by the organization.
"It's a growing epidemic," says John A. Clifford, trademark attorney at Merchant & Gould. "Companies should register domains through contacts they trust, never due to solicitations. No legitimate domain registrar is going to alert companies when variations of their trademarks may become registered by another party. If an infringing domain is registered, there are legal actions one can take to fix the problem."
Scam letters and emails of this nature are increasingly common, due to the fact that anyone with an Internet connection can harvest public trademark data. Here is an actual letter recently received by a Merchant & Gould client. The typographical errors are original. Merchant & Gould edited the letter to obscure the contact information of the scammer and the trademark owner.
Dear manager :
We are Shanghai NET Network Service Co.,Ltd, which is the domain name register center in China.I have something need to confirm with you.
We have received an application formally,one company named " XXXX "(http://www. xvxx .cn) applies for the following domain names:
www. yourtrademark .asia
www. yourtrademark .com.hk
www. yourtrademark. com.tw
www. yourtrademark .org.cn
www. yourtrademark .tw
www. yourtrademark .hk
and the following Internet brand:
yourtrademark on the internet Mar 12th, 2008. We need to know the opinion of your company because the domain names and keyword may relate to the usufruct of brand name on internet.
We would like to get the affirmation of your company, please contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible.
Shanghai NET Network Service Co.,Ltd
Tel: 0086-21-5 XXX 0338-0318
FAX: 0086-21-5 XXX 301
Website: www. xxx -net.net.cn
E-mail: terry.wang@ xxx -net.net.cn
This letter is simply an invitation for companies to buy numerous names through the sender, premised on a misrepresentation. In all likelihood, there is no danger of these domains becoming registered by another party. Merchant & Gould strongly urges companies to regard solicitations of this nature with extreme caution.
For any questions, contact:
John A. Clifford