How to protect your business from fake trademark infringement and “domain slamming” scams (Part 1)

At least once a week, I get an email from a friend, associate or fellow business owner asking me whether the email they just received is legitimate. Mainly originating from China, this scam involves sending domain owners an email claiming that another company has attempted to register domains containing the targeted company’s trademarks.

You’ve likely seen this email:

“Dear Manager, (If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO, Thanks)

This email is from China domain name registration center, which mainly deal with the domain name registration and dispute internationally in China and Asia. On Oct 29th 2012, We received *** Ltd.’s application that they are registering the name “********” as their Internet Keyword and “********.cn”, “******** “, “********.asia” domain names, etc.., they are China and ASIA domain names. But after auditing we found the brand name been used by your company. As the domain name registrar in China, it is our duty to notice you, so we are sending you this email to check. According to the principle in China, your company is the owner of the trademark. In our auditing time we can keep the domain names safe for you firstly, but our audit period is limited, if you object the third party application these domain names and need to protect the brand in China and Asia by yourself, please let the responsible officer contact us as soon as possible.”

The email is typically signed the registration department, auditing officer or some official sounding title.

Another scam called “Domain Slamming” is a practice where a domain registrar or reseller sends a transfer notice masquerading as a renewal notice to trick customers of another registrar into switching away. Some of these notices come by email but many come in brown envelopes with the Canadian maple leaf logo and a name similar to the official domain registry, but is actually a private company. The notices look like government-issued invoices so people assume its legitimacy.

What the fine print actually says is that by paying the fee, you have authorized the transfer of your domain away from your current registrar.

Part 2 of this blog will discuss how to protect your business from fake trademark infringement and “domain slamming” scams.

Cybele Negris

Cybele Negris is CEO & Co-Founder of Inc., Canada’s original .CA Registrar and one of the country’s leading Internet solutions companies. manages the domain portfolios for many of the country’s biggest brands and global Fortune 500 companies, offering hundreds of domain extensions, web hosting, email, web development and much more. Cybele is also Vice-Chair of the board of Small Business Roundtable of BC and has received many awards including: Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2011, 2012 and 2014), Business in Vancouver Influential Women in Business Award (2010), PROFIT W100 - Canada's Top Women Entrepreneurs (2004 to 2012) and Business in Vancouver Top 40 Under 40 (2003).

See all posts by Cybele

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