In recent years, we have received
countless enquiries from clients worried about an email they
received about a company trying to register their mark as a domain
name or keyword, usually in China or Hong Kong. The emails usually
take the following form:
This is a
letter to confirm the registration of your company name [WELL KNOWN
MARK], please read it thoroughly. Today, our center received an
application from [MADE UP COMPANY, USUALLY STARTING WITH AN
ACRONYM] and they applied to register [WELL KNOWN MARK] as their
brand name and some top-level domain names (.CN .HK. .TW, .ASIA,
the main body of domain names is same as your company name. I am
not sure about the relationship between you and them.
dealing with the application and we need to confirm whether you
have authorized them? If you don't authorize them, please reply
me an e-mail. Looking forward to your reply.
deal with IPR registration internationally. We received a formal
application from a company who is called [MADE UP COMPANY] are
applying to register the international trademark [WELL KNOWN
MARK] on [YESTERDAY].
and found the keyword is similar to your company's name. So we
inform you to confirm whether you authorized the company registered
the international trademark. If you have authorized, then we can
finish registering for them as per our duty. If not, we hereby
suspect the company to be a international trademark grabber. Please
contact us by telephone or email within 10 workdays, so we
can better handle the issue.
something to confirm with you. On [YESTERDAY], we received an
application in which a company by the name [NAME] applied to
register [WELL KNOWN MARK] as their Brand Name and some Asia domain
names through our firm.
Now we are
handling this registration. After our initial checking, we found
that the name are identical to your company's. We need to check
with you whether your company has authorized that company to
register these names. If you have authorized this, we will finish
the registration at once. If not, please let us know within 7
workdays, in which case we will discuss the matter more thoroughly.
If not otherwise advised within that time limit we will proceed
with the registration. We will be waiting for your reply.
We generally advise our clients
that these emails are scams, and there is no need to reply.
These types of emails are usually mere attempts to fish for
business, and nothing more. To our knowledge, none of these
emails (and there have been many) have turned out to be
So, what should you do if you
receive one of these emails? First, start with the
presumption that the email is suspect. Generally, domain name
registrations are automated, and first-come, first-served. They are
not subject to examination by registrars or registration service
providers. In other words, there is typically no
"application" that will be examined to determine if there
are prior rights. Second, there are several websites/blogs
that talk about these scams. You can do a simple Google search to
see if there are any websites that name the particular service
provider or individual as being involved in this type of scam.
Third, you can check for the existence of the entity named as
trying to register the domain name. Lastly, you can search to see
if the registration provider is an accredited registrar (for
example, here and here). If the registrar is accredited,
the email is more likely to be legitimate. Taking these steps
are likely to confirm you can ignore the email.
At the same time, the email should
serve as a reminder that there are people scoping for opportunities
to cybersquat, especially in the case of well-known marks, and
prompt you to check your domain name portfolio, and consider
whether there are any gaps in key regions or on key top-level
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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