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Someone claims ownership on generic keyword and asking to sell them my domain

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by soccerfriend, May 3, 2012.

  1. #1
    Hello,

    Here is my situation


    Prehistory
    To not name the actual names let's say "TABLE magazine" - the magazine about tables.. Currently "TABLE magazine" operates under the domain "tablemag.com"

    One year ago I bought the domain TableMagazine.com for an amount $X,XXX.. At the time I bought the domain I had no idea that "TABLE Magazine" even existed.

    I started developing my website, put time and money into development and marketing.

    About a month ago, the owner of "TABLE Magazine" contacts me saying that there is branding confusing and is threatening me with UDRP lawsuit.

    Currently happening

    First, of all.. My thinking is that "table magazine" is a quite generic keyword. Not every person searching in google for "table magazine" is necessarily looking for "TABLE magazine" they are just looking for ANY MAGAZINE ABOUT TABLES. There maybe many such magazines right?? There are people who NEVER HEARD about "TABLE magazine" and are looking for table magazines on the internet. How can "TABLE magazine" claim that they own this "keyword" ??

    Anyway, I don't really care about that.. Since "TABLE magazine" was around for a number of years now.. I don't mind selling the domain to these guys (even though I don't think I must do it). But if I sell I want to get a fair price for it

    I want to get back what I paid for it ($X,XXX) + $XXX for the time and effort I put into developing this website and building its user base.

    Their offer was 3 times less what I actually spent on it and I am not going to accept such price.

    Am I breaking any laws by not wanting to sell the domain below its price in my accounting books ?
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
    soccerfriend, May 3, 2012 IP
  2. cameronpalte

    cameronpalte Active Member

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    #2
    Tell them to pay you the exact amount of money you want and add a $100 for bothering you. It is probably cheaper than what a law suit would cost them. If they refuse then, let them sue you, you'll win. That's like digital point saying no one can make a forum with internet marketing in it because they used it first. That doesn't work otherwise, no one can make a website about making money online because I have one. Best of luck!
     
    cameronpalte, May 3, 2012 IP
  3. soccerfriend

    soccerfriend Active Member

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    #3
    Thanks for you reply. Though I have already put so much time into this that $100 on top of the original price does not seems fair to me.
     
    soccerfriend, May 4, 2012 IP
  4. Dave Zan

    Dave Zan Well-Known Member

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    #4
    Nope. OTOH, there are laws and administrative processes (e.g. UDRP) that address
    potential domain-trademark disputes.

    Without knowing the actual name in question (which definitely should not be shared
    in an online forum if in the midst of a possible legal issue), unfortunately there is no
    definite answer to your dilemma. While there are numerous factors to consider, two
    of them boil down to strength of trademark (if any) and likelihood of confusion.

    It's arguably easier if it involves common words. The word delta is used by an airline,
    a faucet manufacturer and a bicycle maker, yet none are confusing one another due
    to their respective distinctive (hint) use.

    If you really want to pursue this further, you best seek a lawyer with experience in
    these things. They're the only ones who can really tell you anyway, though some do
    offer a free initial consultation.

    Oh, and beware of others telling you to do things like "fight the bastards!" or "ignore
    them!" The latter is especially what you shouldn't do unless, say, you don't mind the
    loss.

    Good luck.
     
    Dave Zan, May 4, 2012 IP
  5. grapgat

    grapgat Peon

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    #5
    good answer Dave - and yes, without knowing the actual name we can't say how strong your case is.If it is something generic like Table Magazine - then you have a strong chance of winning if it ever came to a ful on legal matter. The fact that the owner contacted you first is probably a good sign. Normally you have trademark lawyers or paralegals sending you letters in cases of strong trademark infringements.And it will cost them more in legal fees than paying you, so i wouldn't be too worried.
     
    grapgat, May 4, 2012 IP
  6. soccerfriend

    soccerfriend Active Member

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    #6
    Thanks for all your answers. Yes, the keyword is very generic.
     
    soccerfriend, May 4, 2012 IP
  7. attorney jaffe

    attorney jaffe Member

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    #7
    Generic or not, if the company has a registered trademark you could be in trouble.

    Be careful how you approach asking for money. You do not want to be hit with a cybersquatting law suit -- Even if you roll over and play dead it would cost you thousands in legal fees.
     
    attorney jaffe, May 4, 2012 IP
  8. soccerfriend

    soccerfriend Active Member

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    #8
    In case they don't agree to buy the domain, can I asking the owners of TABLE magazine to give me a statement where it says that they are Ok with me to continue operations further? I want to have some kind of protection in case they change their mind in the future. Would this be normal to ask for such statement?
     
    soccerfriend, May 5, 2012 IP
  9. SEO Velvet INC

    SEO Velvet INC Peon

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    #9
    I am sorry i didn't read other replies from your thread, but here is my advice regarding your OP.
    Go ahead and transfer your domain from your current registrar to webnames.ru or reg.ru or hosting.ua . It shouldn't take more than 1 week tops and cost say 20 bucks or less even. The particular websites I mentioned are not under the verisign law and have no interest in doing what some freaks that have ur same name ask them to do, nor any law may obligate them to do so.
    I know this wasnt the answer you were looking for, but I know a few cases like your and makes me just want to show them the middle finder all dressed up !
    Just ignore them, they will bark until they are sick and move on ! In the same time ask them 30x times worth your investment to put a little pressure on them :)
    Registrar I mentioned can be treated like an example, you could look into dns.com.cn or xinnet.com as well, etc
    You get my point. Best of luck
     
    SEO Velvet INC, May 5, 2012 IP
  10. Dave Zan

    Dave Zan Well-Known Member

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    #10
    And this is guaranteed to get the OP the desired results?
     
    Dave Zan, May 5, 2012 IP
  11. cameronpalte

    cameronpalte Active Member

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    #11
    No what I said is that you wanted the original price + $$$ for some work right? Well I was saying get the original price + $$$ for some work + an extra $100 on top of all that just because you can:).
     
    cameronpalte, May 5, 2012 IP
  12. cameronpalte

    cameronpalte Active Member

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    #12
    You can ask, but I doubt it would happen. Continue options as normal. They already threatened with a lawsuit and companies like this probably have the power to follow through.
     
    cameronpalte, May 5, 2012 IP
  13. humtuma

    humtuma Well-Known Member

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    #13
    Just search , table magazine company is how many years old. I did not remember clearly , one case is there. For ex- Your domain is 10 years old and table magazine is five years old company. After five years later, they come and told please return my keyword or some thing else.The government or court are in favor of you not the table magazine company. And this is also "TableMagazine.com". "T.....M.....net", "T.....M.....org" a lot of the domains are there , just ask your law that will also help. And take a look at the google play case ,search it.
     
    humtuma, May 5, 2012 IP
  14. soccerfriend

    soccerfriend Active Member

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    #14
    Thanks for all of your answers.
    According to Trademarkia, their trademark had the following:

    Mark Description: The mark consists of white stylized word "TABLE" with red background.
    Type Of Mark: Service Mark
    Mark Drawing Code: Drawing/Design + Words

    -- there is nothing said about trademarking the keyword "table magazine"

    And it seems that their trademark is expired:

    ABANDONED-FAILURE TO RESPOND OR LATE RESPONSE as of 2008 ----> I bought domain in 2011

    I guess they don't have much.
     
    soccerfriend, May 5, 2012 IP
  15. Dave Zan

    Dave Zan Well-Known Member

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    #15
    OP, a reason why I suggested talking to a lawyer about this is because it might make
    things easier for you. Unless you "intimately" understand how trademarks and domains
    work, you'll have difficulty handling issues like these if/when they fall in your lap.

    I'll say this, though: IMHO it's like how to handle any other "opponent" in the sense of
    knowing whatever you can about them, and leveraging that either in your favor or vs.
    them. If you feel you can't afford a lawyer, you'll have to research as much as you're
    able to on the subject and the party in question to deal with this yourself.

    Also, you seemingly have an "edge" if your usage is totally unrelated to theirs. Try to
    "prove" how and why X-price, more so what's in it for them.

    OTOH it doesn't have to see this as a me-vs.-them situation, even though it can feel
    like it. Try to find some common ground if possible.

    Good luck.
     
    Dave Zan, May 5, 2012 IP
  16. dscurlock

    dscurlock Notable Member

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    #16
    Why should he spend lots of money to seek a lawyer first? I surely would not
    seek a lawyer every time some e-threat claim comes. If they have rights, then
    they may get the domain regardless if he goes to an attorney first...

    Let them do whatever it is they think they are going to do, they are going
    to have to prove something one way or another; I surely would not be
    the first to spend $1000+ to retain an atty, or even hundreds just to consult.

    When you see them shelling out $1,000's for atty, then you may have some
    idea on how serious they really are, at this point, they are not going to
    pay you anything, they will attempt to take it using trade mark violations....

    regardless of what I may think, but in the end, if they take serious action,
    you may have make a decision on how much you think that generic domain is worth, and
    how much it is really worth, not what you paid for it, it may have been over or under-priced....

    You guys want him to jump first without knowing much about the other party...
    I just would not be so fast to jump just because i got some legal notification
    that demands that I jump, if I sent a legal letter, will you go jump off a cliff?

    If they are serious, then they will attempt to get the domain regardless...
    or they just blowing smoke in your face with a legal threat (they want you to jump first)

    Even if they strike first, only you know how much you are willing to put up in order
    to defend your domain; If you have no money to defend, then you already know what may happen...
    and your atty/lawyer is not going to work for free either, and I do not feel this case would
    be strong enough for contingency, unless you have lawyer friends, and he must be a good friend...
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
    dscurlock, May 7, 2012 IP
  17. agora

    agora Active Member Premium Member

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    #17
    We provide legal consulting services, if you seek such services.

     
    agora, May 9, 2012 IP