Legal Threat Within GoDaddy Auction

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The top publicly reported domain name sale of the day this past Saturday was the auction for ChefD.com. The domain name sold for $11,850, as reported in a tweet from NameBio on Sunday morning:

Notably, there appears to have been a legal threat issued via comment within the GoDaddy Auctions bidding platform. Have a look at the screenshot that was originally shared on Domain Boardroom that I was given permission to share publicly:

I have no way to know if this legal notice was made by a lawyer representing a trademark interest. For all I know, it could have been made by an unaffiliated third party to dissuade others from bidding in the auction. It seems like anyone can leave a comment.

I believe the ability to comment within an auction has always been there. If you are bidding on an auction at GoDaddy Auctions, on the review popup, there is a hyperlinked field that says “Add comment here.” I presume that if you click it, you can add a comment that will show up with your bid as demonstrated in the screenshot above. I have noticed that link before, but never thought about commenting nor have I even noticed other comments before seeing this.

It will be interesting to see who ends up with the ChefD.com domain name, and if it not an entity related to the supposed trademark holder, it will also be interesting to see if any type of legal action is taken in the future. I would also be interested in knowing why this comment functionality exists. Perhaps someone from GoDaddy can explain its purpose.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Double edge sword of making this issue public. On one hand, it’s good for domainers to be aware of this. As per the comments thus far, it seems even the most tenured were unaware. On the other hand, I have a sneaking suspicion that since this is a story now, we’re about to see an explosion of bogus threats suddenly begin appearing, in hopes to scare others from bidding on certain domains. GoDaddy simply needs to remove this useless and troublesome feature from auctions.

    • People should do TM due diligence before bidding on an auction regardless of whether or not a threat is made.

      I sent the article to a GoDaddy rep, and hopefully the company can comment on the utility of the comment functionality. If it is a legacy field that no longer serves a purpose, it can be removed.

    • Why don’t you add Bidders ID corresponding to their Account Details? That’s transparency.
      Bidders anonymity is needed only by those who thrive on bidding games, fraud and shill bidding …
      The same is applicable to NameJet, DropCatch, etc
      If auction houses don’t change their practices, people will force them to change, through lawsuits, class actions or a FBI investigation … Just wait and see …

  2. IMHO this is the mentioned lawyer, Robert Hart, of AddyHart P.C., a law firm in Chicago, IL: http://addyhart.com/
    There are several TMs on the word term “CHEF’D”.
    See an example below.

    Word Mark CHEF’D
    Goods and Services IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Online retail store services and mail order services featuring food and recipes. FIRST USE: 20150327. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20150327
    Standard Characters Claimed
    Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
    Serial Number 86427107
    Filing Date October 17, 2014
    Current Basis 1A
    Original Filing Basis 1B
    Published for Opposition March 24, 2015
    Registration Number 4875593
    Registration Date December 22, 2015
    Owner (REGISTRANT) Chef’d, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY DELAWARE 291 Coral Circle EL SEGUNDO CALIFORNIA 90245

    (LAST LISTED OWNER) TRUE HUE, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY DELAWARE 2260 UNIVERSITY DRIVE NEWPORT BEACH CALIFORNIA 92660
    Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
    Attorney of Record Robert Hart
    Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
    Register PRINCIPAL
    Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

  3. I knew you could comment, but forgot about it. Found the option by mistake one day.
    I assumed most knew you could comment, just thought no one bothered to.

    Owell, they’re removing the comment sections anyway.

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