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Thread: I nearly being sued by Dell!

  1. #1
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    I nearly being sued by Dell!

    Hi fella webmaster,

    Here I'm gonna share my experience.

    I joined Linkshare's Dell Affiliate program few months back.
    I got accepted and try to market Dell's products in United States.

    So I decided to buy a new domain last month, from GoDaddy.
    The domain name contains Dell wording.

    After DNS and domain goes live, I put the affiliate banner and coupon code on the website. Sadly, on the same day, I got banned, without knowing any reason.

    I guess, after being banned, I no longer use that domain, and not interested in Dell affiliate program.

    So i put the domain name into a auction / domain buying forum.

    I successfully sold the domain for $20, marked up 100% of the cost $9.20.
    : )

    As I got Gmail, I rarely checked my Yahoo! Mail. I don't know that Dell's lawyer send me an email about the unauthorized use of that domain name.

    Until last Saturday, I received a legal document this morning regarding the domain name that I registered last month via Fedex.

    It's been claiming as an intellectual property.

    Tha main thing is, referring to the letter, my action constitute trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition under United States federal law. These laws provide for injunctive and monetary relief. Monetary relief may include profits, treble damages and plaintiff's costs and attorneys' fees in the lawsuit.

    My action also subject me to action under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy as adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. This latter provides for damages of up to $100,000 for each bad-faith registration of a domain name.

    What do I have to do is:

    1. cease and desist from any further use, registration, or offering for sale of that domain name

    2. and transfer that domain name to Dell.

    But, I had already sold that domain name to somebody.

    In order for me to resolve this matter, I must send them a written assurance to them, that i will comply with the term of the letter.

    The only way to ensure that this matter is resolved expeditiously is to transfer the domain name to Dell. Any other action, including canceling or abandoning the registration will delay resolution.

    I got panicked, and let the buyer transfer back the domain to me.

    As for today, the lawyer said that just unlocked the domain and transfer to Dell dns admin. They'll initiate the transfer.

    Phew! Lucky Malaysia is not as strict as American.

    Moral: Read the TOS or agreement before joining any program or affiliate program. Don't get yourself into trouble.

  2. #2
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    mind to tell us the domain name?
    www.Hive.my - Hive Hosting #1 East Malaysia Web Host!

  3. #3
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    I would rather not.

    It's something like, http://containsdellnameinthisdomain.com

  4. #4
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    ya..that's one of the risk...

    photoshop use to sue people with domains that had "photoshop"
    in them...but now the word "photoshop" is so common..they never sue already..lol


    i reg ipodfanz .com....had some prob too..but ok now..lol

  5. #5
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    yeah...
    myphotoshop.com also cannot be claim.. too many photo shop out there.
    but whatisadobe.com can aa?

    whoa.. this is something people did not mention bout it. hurmmpph..

  6. #6
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    Hmmm, so far I still do not have any problem with osx-e.com domain. But I'm not the only who using OS X, as a domain and I'm sure Apple won't have any problem with it.

  7. #7
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    well it's better not to choose a domain name that contains big company's name or big brand name, it's not worth the risk.

    glad to know that ur clear from the trouble now ^_^

  8. #8
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    I don't think they can sue you though, because United States federal laws does not apply in Malaysia. You'll have to come to the US before they can bring you to court

    And the lawyer knows that but he's just trying to intimidate you.

    If I were you, I'll ignore the letter and just keep the money. I'll explain the situation to them and it's up to them to pursue the new owner.
    Last edited by KevinSpacey; 21-04-2005 at 09:05 PM.

  9. #9
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    I just can't play with the legal thingy.

    Not taking a risk to play with law, especially with US.

    Everyday we saw, Yahoo! sue Google, Real Networks sue Microsoft, and it becomes trends.

    Even individual can be caught for downloading music.

    How big I am to fight big boys? Could I afford to pay $100,000 US Dollars?

    If the answer is no, just make it to loose $20, rather than $100,00.

    FYI, the case hasn't over yet. Dell still not initiated my transfer yet.

  10. #10
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    Ok, it's always good for you to play safe.

    But I am just letting you know that, US laws doesn't apply in Malaysia.

    Have you heard Dell US, or other US companies sue people from China, Russia, Spain?

    It's Dell USA you are having problem with because you joined their affiliate program, not Dell Malaysia. There's no such laws (domain name related copyright infringement) exist in Malaysia yet. Cyber laws in Malaysia is still in its infancy which is not very good if you are looking for justice in that area.

    Even individual can be caught for downloading music.
    Have you heard people from China, Spain, Russia, etc got sued by the RIAA? Name me just one case if you can. Unless they change the law in that country, then it can happen, but for now, US laws is not the laws of the world.

    You know why the majority of spammers moving outside of the US? Because US laws can't touch them.

    There was once, a company in the US sending out cease and desist letters to webmasters who have one particular word in their domain name by claiming copyright infringement.

    One of my websites happened to be one of those websites using that word in that domain name. Despite of the popularity of my website compare to some others, I didn't get that letter because they know they can't do anything about it.

    Anyway, just do what makes you feel happy.

  11. #11
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    One time, I built a website about swiss army ... so, I wanted to register SwissArmySomething.com ... or Swiss-Army-Something.com ... but I think Swiss Army is a registered trademark. But I settled for SAsomething rather than having swiss army in the domain.
    --------------------------------------------
    Khairil Iszuddin Ismail

  12. #12
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    Kevin,

    Thanks for the explanation and advise.

    Anyway, by doing that, I feel relief.
    Much, much, much more relief.

    Who don't get panicked when Fedex guy knock your door, and gave you the suing letter?

    : )

  13. #13
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    I think the most important thing is for us to realize the purpose of registering such domain name. If the purpose is not to compete with that company or our website is about something else then I think we should not worry too much about it.

    Take for example BBC.com, this domain was first owned by a company in the US and BBC as in the British Broadcasting Corporation couldn't sue that company for "trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition". The domain was registered in 1987 long before BBC got on the Internet.

    The US company had valid reasons to use that domain name (short for Boston Business Computing) and BBC can't sue company because they are not based there.

    It was speculated that BBC offered to buy BBC.com for USD850,000 from the original owner in 1999. So that's how BBC got hold of the domain BBC.com, not through court process but by offering the owner big money.

    In my case, my domain contains a generic keyword and somehow a company in the US bought the trademark for that word and start sending letters to webmaster.

  14. #14
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    And you might getting right by receiving a compensation?

    : )

    Very good info Kevin.
    In Malaysia, it's not exposed in media.
    Only recently, the IP advertisement shown on TV.

    http://www.mipc.gov.my/

  15. #15
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    There was a guy who bought amazon.<countrycode> and try to sell amazon for millions. Then sued by amazon. Amazon paid him $14.65 and got the domain name. Case close
    Exabytes -- Linux, Windows 2003 & Cold Fusion Hosting | Domain

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