Tags: Branding, Domain Names
Written by: Bill Hartzer
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Intellectual Property Domain Name Scam Changes to Brand Registration Scam
A well-known intellectual property protection domain name scam that has been going on for at least 10 years has taken a new twist–the scammers are now calling this a “brand registration” rather than “intellectual property”. In any case, though, the scam is the same, really:
Some unknown company from Asia contacts you, trying to reach the CEO or marketing manager of your company. They try to make you believe that some fictitious company is trying to register your name in Asia. They are making it sound as if they’re “being nice to you” and want confirmation that it’s okay that this other company register your brand name in Asia. If you respond to their email, they will then try to sell you over-priced domain name registration for your company’s domain name (a CCTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain).
Here is one of the emails that was recently sent out to an unsuspecting USA business. I have removed the business name from the email:
From: Mark Wang [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 12:52 AM
Subject: [!! SPAM] IMPORTANT XXCOMPANYNAMEXX Brand Registration Confirmation
(Letter to Head of Brand Business or CEO, thanks)
Dear Sir or Madam,
This is a formal email. We are the department of Asian Domain Registration Service in China. Here I have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on November 23, 2012 that a company claimed “Jep Industrial Co. Ltd” were applying to register “XXCOMPANYNAMEXX” as their Net Brand and some XXCOMPANYNAMEXX Asian countries top-level domain names through our firm.
Now we are handling this registration, and after our initial checking, we found the name were similar to your company’s, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you authorized this, we would finish the registration at once. If you did not authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we could handle this issue better. After the deadline we will unconditionally finish the registration for “Jep Industrial Co. Ltd”. Looking forward to your prompt reply.
Address:No.188 Huangshan Road,Hefei 230001,Anhui,China
Tel: (+86) 739-5266069
This is nothing but a scam. I would NOT respond to their emails. There is no company named “Jep Industrial Co. Ltd” who tried to register your company’s name or domain.
Here is my advice:
- If you have a physical location in a country outside the USA and you are a USA business, then you probably already have (or should have) a web site with a CCTLD domain name in that country.
- If you are a USA company only doing business in the USA then you do not need a domain name in another country or another CCTLD.
- Still, if you are worried that someone might be trying to register your name, you can go register it yourself–do not use some company who sent you an email out of the blue.
- If you find that someone else has registered your trademarked name after you obtained the trademark (this is very important, see my article on Reverse Domain Name Hijacking), you can file a UDRP domain dispute and potentially recover that domain name.
How did this company get your email address? These unsolicited commercial emails (UCE SPAM) are usually sent to email addresses that this Asian scammer company finds from press releases. So, if your email is on your company’s recent press release, most likely that’s how they found you.