A few weeks back, I wrote an article stressing the importance of keeping your email addresses updated for Whois records. Not having an updated Whois record can cause problems for your domain assets and can potentially allow someone to steal them.
Today I learned that there can be other problems associated with having inaccurate Whois information. I received a “Notice of Infringement” email from the General Counsel for a company I didn’t recognize, and when I read through the entire email, I realized it was related to a domain name I had never heard of before.
A quick Whois search showed that it was registered to my email address but had fictitious Whois information. Strangely, the information matches the Whois information for the domain names I had previously mentioned in the referenced article, many of which seem to be legit websites, so something is funky.
Ordinarily, I would just delete the email and forget about it, but my big concern is that not responding will get the company to dig deeper, and of course if they do a Google search for my email address, they will easily find my business information and name. If they just go on that and nothing else, they could easily attempt to tie my company with the allegedly infringing domain name.
I would defend myself and prove that I don’t have anything to do with the domain name, but if it goes the legal route, it will cost me money to have my lawyer respond. Of course, I would then likely counter sue for my legal fees since any legal action would mean their lawsuit was simply based on a Google search of my email address, which in my opinion, would be pretty shoddy research (instead of contacting the registrar to get the real data).
Anyhow, keep your Whois information accurate, for good or for bad. The domain owner might have a legitimate defense, but depending on how the company with the trademark pursues things, the owner might not even get an opportunity to defend the name.