Twice within the past 24 hours, a client has contacted me with concerns about trademark protection. In each instance, the concerns were caused by an e-mail that offered specified domain names in Asia. I will describe the e-mails in detail so you will know to be on guard if you receive anything similar:
- The subject line includes terms such as “copyright” or “intellectual property.”
- The text indicates that the sending company, an Internet domain registrar located in Asia, has received a request to register domain names with country codes in Asia that are similar to a “trademark” (more precisely, a domain name) that you own. For example, if you own <universalwidgets.com>, the e-mail might state that there are requests to register <universalwidgets.cn> and <universalwidgets.asia>.
- The e-mail then offers you an opportunity to protect your trademark by buying the Asian domain names yourself, rather than letting them be purchased by the third party. However, to take advantage of this opportunity, you must act quickly.
- The individual ostensibly sending the e-mail has an Americanized name, such as “John Zhou” or “Adam Hao”.
Do not waste you time replying – this e-mail is a scam! Based on Internet research, I determined that even if the sending company really is an Internet registrar, the price for the domain names will be way too high. If you really want the domain names, you might as well buy them through your existing Internet service provider at a substantially lower price.
Which brings us to a larger point: You should buy a country-specific domain name only if you consider it important to do business in that country. And if the country is that important, you should look into registering your trademarks there, too.
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.