I Lost My Web Domain, Can I Force The New Owner to Sell It Back to Me?

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“I own the trademark [xyz]. I recently, due to an email mixup, lost the legal ownership to my website [xyz.com ]. Is there a specific statute that protects my ownership of this particular domain, and can I force the buyer to sell it back to me?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

If you do indeed hold the Registered Trademark on that name, under the rules of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), it is possible to force a “cyber-squatter” to give your domain name back to you. Many cyber-squatters are parasites looking to make money off your domain name. They skulk around domain registries watching to see when domain names expire and try to take advantage of a lapse in a domain name registration, hoping they can capitalize on any existing traffic to the site, or maybe just shake you down for some money to get it back.

Many of the early cyber-squatting trademark cases were resolved (usually in favor of the trademark holder) through lengthy and costly lawsuits. But under an ICANN policy called the Uniform Dispute Resolution Process (UDRP), there is an expedited administrative procedure to resolve such disputes without the cost and delay of court litigation. To learn more about the UDRP, visit: http://www.icann.org/faq/#udrp

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Author: Ray Everett-Church, Esq.

Ray Everett-Church is a privacy and security consultant with PrivacyClue LLC and is co-author of "Internet Privacy for Dummies"

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