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Buying, selling and auctioning domain names

The internet is an increasingly important tool for bringing your products and/or services to the attention of a wider audience. For this reason, the importance of domain names is growing. Domain names are increasingly bought or sold, including by auction.

Do you want a domain name?

Anyone can buy a domain name. If the domain name is available, it can be purchased from a domain ‘registrar’ (a company that registers a domain name on behalf of companies, institutions or individuals). It registers your domain name and you pay an annual fee for the right to use it.

Unfortunately, not all domain names are still available. There may be third parties that have the same company name as you or perhaps even the same brand name. They may have bought the domain name in good faith, in which case it is likely that you will come away from any trademark claim empty-handed. You can, of course, look at alternatives or variants, but what can you do if you really want the domain name?

Good or bad faith

It is wise to first see whether the owner of the domain name has acted in good or bad faith. Examples of bad faith registration include companies that are seeking to profit from your name or your brand. Such is the popularity of the internet that it does attract brand hijackers – companies or individuals who wilfully seek to make money by registering domain names that incorporate popular brand names so that they can sell them back to the rightful owner at a profit. But, even where that is the case, brand owners can report bad faith registrations in order to retrieve them from the wrongful owner. To do that, however, you’ll first need to ensure that your company or product name is registered as a trademark. That will help you to prove that you have prior rights to the name. In other words, when establishing a business or service, you should register the name or trademark as soon as possible. This simplifies the burden of proof at a later stage.

Negotiate the price down

Even if the provider is acting in good faith, there is always the possibility that you can buy the domain name from them. However, depending upon the name and/or the extension, this can be a costly affair. It may be wise to request assistance from an expert, like Novagraaf, and to jointly determine the value of the domain name. In practice, it is also increasingly common for domain names to be auctioned. Again it may be desirable to call in the expertise of Novagraaf to help guide you through the process.

Would you like to know more about buying or selling domain names?

If you have any questions about buying or selling a domain name, please get in touch with Novagraaf. Whether you want to know more about registering a domain name, watching a domain name or have a dispute about a domain name, we would be happy to be of assistance. You can contact us using the contact form at the top right of this page.