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Scammers continue to rip off domain names and trade marks

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We have reported to you in the past on scams associated with trade marks where scammers look up the public details once a trade mark application has been accepted, or published, and send material that looks like an official invoice in the hope that an organisation, or an individual, will pay without question.  They provide no service in association with the money they request.  These scams have been around for many years and obviously some people do pay them, which keeps the scams operating.  These invoices typically have a European country of origin and look official.

A new variation of this occurs in relation to domain names.  This typically arrives via an email and typically concerns Asian domains.  It is not in the same category as the European scams with trade marks, as it seems they can provide a service of registering your domain.  Rather it is a deceit by them, whereby they construct a story about how your brand name is not covered in certain domains ie “.cn”, “.com.cn”, “.hk”, “.tw” and typically suggest that a South American company have approached them to register your brand name on these domains, but that they will hold the domains open for you, for a limited period of time, if you want to register with them.  We suggest our clients ignore the email, rather than to get into a communication with them.  We typically advise our clients to treat this as a useful prompt to think about whether they should cover these particular domains in Asia, if there is a good commercial reason to do so, and that if that is the case, that they should register with a reputable domain registrant.

For more information about these types of scams contact one of our Intellectual Property or Technology & Media lawyers.

Author:  Marianne Dunham

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