Although there isn’t a field of law that is categorized as “domain name law,” the field of intellectual property (IP) law encompasses many issues related to domain name investing. There are a number of IP attorneys and lawyers who have legal practices that specialize in domain name legal issues, and there are many more law firms who have attorneys that are knowledgeable about domain name law.
A domain attorney is typically someone whose background is intellectual property law and has a special focus on domain name law. A domain name attorney is familiar with trademark law and cybersquatting (US Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act – ACPA), Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), ICANN regulations and administration, contract law, negotiation, and and other areas related to domain names. A domain attorney can also help recover a stolen domain name.
A domain name lawyer typically works to represent trademark holders and applicants, or works to defend domain name registrants. Some domain attorneys will represent trademark interests and domain registrants, although that has the potential to cause some professional conflicts if a trademark client wants to go after a domain name registrant for cybersquatting.
There are several issues that might present themselves which would necessitate a domain lawyer, and an attorney experienced in handling domain name disputes and transactions may be best to help. Some examples of legal issues that domain investors and companies in the domain business might face at some point include the following:
- UDRP response and UDRP filing
- Trademark infringement
- Domain name leasing and sales
- Complex licensing deals
- Cease and desist notices
- Publisher rights
Many intellectual property law firms have lawyers on staff who are familiar with domain name related transactions and legal issues. A lawyer who specializes in domain name related law can be helpful in the event a UDRP defense is needed, a cybersquatting lawsuit is filed, or if a complex deal structure involving a domain name needs to be completed.
An attorney who specializes in domain name law may also be used to handle escrow on a domain name sale. This can involve a standard domain name sale or a more complicated deal involving a payment plan or lease. In fact, having an attorney manage the escrow process can streamline purchase agreements and escrow contracts.
Knowing who to call in case a situation presents itself is important, and a list of domain lawyers who are familiar with domain names and domain name law is below. Although this list may not be comprehensive, it contains a number of well known domain name attorneys who have represented domain investors, domain registrars, and other domain name related companies. Many of these lawyers attend domain conferences and are advocates in the domain investment business.
When a legal issue involving a domain name arises, it is always best to contact a lawyer with expertise in domain name law.
Domain Name Attorneys and Law Firms:
- Karen Bernstein
- John Berryhill
- Bret Fausett
- Ari Goldberger
- Aaron Hall
- Paul Keating
- Gerald M. Levine
- Stevan Lieberman
- Brett Lewis
- Zak Muscovitch
- Howard Neu
- Enrico Schaefer
- Steve Sturgeon
Important Note: This article was written by someone without any legal experience or expertise. It is always advisable to consult an attorney.