Notice of Infringement Sent to Domain Registrant But Not Domain Owner | DomainInvesting.com
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Notice of Infringement Sent to Domain Registrant But Not Domain Owner

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A few weeks back, I wrote an article stressing the importance of keeping your email addresses updated for Whois records. Not having an updated Whois record can cause problems for your domain assets and can potentially allow someone to steal them.

Today I learned that there can be other problems associated with having inaccurate Whois information. I received a “Notice of Infringement” email from the General Counsel for a company I didn’t recognize, and when I read through the entire email, I realized it was related to a domain name I had never heard of before.

A quick Whois search showed that it was registered to my email address but had fictitious Whois information. Strangely, the information matches the Whois information for the domain names I had previously mentioned in the referenced article, many of which seem to be legit websites, so something is funky.

Ordinarily, I would just delete the email and forget about it, but my big concern is that not responding will get the company to dig deeper, and of course if they do a Google search for my email address, they will easily find my business information and name. If they just go on that and nothing else, they could easily attempt to tie my company with the allegedly infringing domain name.

I would defend myself and prove that I don’t have anything to do with the domain name, but if it goes the legal route, it will cost me money to have my lawyer respond.  Of course, I would then likely counter sue for my legal fees since any legal action would mean their lawsuit was simply based on a Google search of my email address, which in my opinion, would be pretty shoddy research (instead of contacting the registrar to get the real data).

Anyhow, keep your Whois information accurate, for good or for bad. The domain owner might have a legitimate defense, but depending on how the company with the trademark pursues things, the owner might not even get an opportunity to defend the name.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (4)

    Paul Keating

    Elliott,

    This has happened to me many times although it can be more serious for me in terms of my license to practice and my reputation in general. Here is a quick and dirty solution that works:
    1. Complete the ICANN complaint for for false WHOIS
    2. Send a copy of this form (and the ICANN auto reply (to prove you sent it) to BOTH the registrar and to the attorney who sent the C&D. Include a letter stating you do not own or control the domain and stating it is not yours.
    3. Check the WHOIS again in 7 days. If it has not changed, repeat 1&2.
    4. If there is a subsequent UDRP, send an EMAIL with a copy of the above to the ADR provider.

    You will for sure receive a letter from the attorney confirming your ICANN complaint and most likely asking you if you know who the owner is. Reply directing them to the registrar and reiterate you do not own or control the domain in any manner.

    That will be the end of it for the simple reason that the attorney knows that if he names you in a complaint he can face Rule 11 sanctions because he (a) had your information and (b) had the ability to seek the information from the registrar.

    March 29th, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Elliot Silver

    @ Paul

    Great advice!

    I was in touch with the registrar yesterday and today, and the company sent me a list of all the names registered to my email address. I replied which ones were mine, and they are suppose to be taking care of the other domain names ASAP. If that does not work, I will complete the ICANN complaint.

    I also contacted the lawyer who sent me the email. One thing I have going for me is that the website is Bulgarian (according to Google Translate), and as we discussed over the phone, I live in New York and don’t know a word of Bulgarian.

    March 29th, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Joey Starkey

    I have sold domain names and months later received emails as the customer never updated the whois. In one case the nameservers were never changed either.

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:21 am

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