Subject: Take a fair offer and run
Date: 4/15/2001 8:31:43 PM (GMT-7)
IP Address: 188.8.131.52
In Reply to: I Might be rich??....help on cybersquatting?... posted by
I have no first-hand experience and I'm not a qualified lawyer, but if you force this issue you may need several lawyers.
From what I've seen so far in following IT news for the LC News section:
If the mining company wanted to carry this to its logical conclusion, they would take the case before WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), which among other things is responsible for arbitrating Internet domain disputes.
Generally, arbitration seems to go badly for the domain holder, of some 2000 cases brought before WIPO so far roughly 80% have been ruled in favor of the aggrieved party.
Only two noteworthy exceptions that I know of so far, Sting.com was denied to the artist Sting on the grounds that it is a common word and is not his given name. BruceSpringsteen.com was denied to complaintant Bruce Springsteen because the defendent was running a Bruce Springsteen fan site under the domain and had not approached the artist with a sale offer (which presumably would have been taken as 'bad faith' intent).
On the more absurd side, Madonna.com was confiscated from a religious non-profit organization and given to the pop singer who goes by the same name.
In your case, you registered the domain while working for the company and I doubt you could present a convincing case that you had constructive plans for domain name. In all likelihood it would be ruled a 'bad faith' registration, especially if you offered to sell it, and you would forfeit it with nothing more than a "thanks for playing, try again" hand shake, minus whatever time and money you invested to try and defend your case.
I may be mistaken, but I think I even remember a case where a plaintiff approached a defendent to obtain a domain name, offered money, and the defendent agreed -- then the plaintiff tried to use that informal 'agreement to sell' as evidence of bad-faith and the basis of a cybersquatting claim.
Verisign (the NSI subsidiary which maintains the domain name database) honors WIPO decisions, the only further option would be the courts.
And even if you did win before WIPO, the mining company could similarly take the case to court, and they quite possibly would win there.
Again, I am not a qualified legal counselor, but if I were in your shoes, I would agree to talk with the company and then keep my mouth shut as much as possible -- just to see if they make a reasonable offer. They might very well be willing to offer enough $$ to sound attractive, but less than what they would have to pay their lawyers in going the legal route.
Then, take it and run.
But I suggest that you consult a lawyer with the appropriate experience.