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OT: The News Thread


Well-known member
Yes, but it's different when the business can be argued to be publicly known. Basically you have to argue (as the domain owner) that you have a valid use for the domain name outside of selling it to the named company at an extreme markup.

For example, say you bought Edmontonhottubs.com and there was a specific business named Edmonton Hot Tubs in existence. You do nothing with the domain and immediately try to sell it to them for 50 grand. They sue you for cyber squatting, they win and get the domain. But, you buy the same domain, put a wordpress blog on it with some articles on how to buy a hot tub, videos of you shopping for hot tubs in and around Edmonton, etc, etc and now try to sell it to them, it's now a legitimate website with a real purpose in the world separate from the commercial business of the same name. If they sue, they lose. They don't own the right to the domain just because they're named similarly, but if they can show that you have no legitimate interest in the name aside from it's commercial value to that specific entity, they win.

Where the domain flipping comes from (waaaaay more difficult in 2021 than it was in 2011) is finding common words and phrases (the shorter, the more valuable) and purchasing them to flip. That's entirely okay as long as it's not publicly known, trademarked entities.
A couple of clients from several years ago were early Google guys and one of them actually posed this question to me in our meeting, regarding what's the best course of action if someone comes calling for a domain you own. The only thing I'd add is that you need to populate the domain prospectively, and not after they come calling. Otherwise it can put a crimp in the legitimate purpose argument.