Most people who invest in domain names probably hope that they never need to use the services of a good domain name lawyer. I think the perception may be that if you have to hire a lawyer for something, it probably means you did something bad or someone is threatening you. That’s not the case, and I think it’s important for everyone to know how to get in touch with a good lawyer who knows domain names and intellectual property (IP) law.
There are many instances when it would be beneficial for a domain name investor to use an attorney or law firm well-versed in domain name and Internet law. Here are several of these instances:
- Drawing up a purchase or sale contract
- Drawing up a lease agreement
- Responding to a UDRP
- Filing a UDRP
- Responding to a cease and desist letter or threat
- Negotiating an agreement
- Negotiating a settlement
- Advising about a trademark (either yours or another company’s)
- Copyright infringement protection
I think it can be very easy for people to think they are able to do most of these things on their own without a lawyer. Perhaps using a domain name contract template or responding to a UDRP by taking tidbits from UDRP decisions sound like more economical ways to go about things. Sure, it might save some money, but if you want something done correctly, I strongly recommend hiring an attorney.
Domain name lawyers should be well versed in intellectual property law. They have experience responding to threats and mitigating legal problems. A person who ignores threats hoping they go away may find themselves facing a lawsuit or put themselves in a more difficult situation. Working with an attorney or law firm that has experience dealing with domain names (as opposed to a local firm that deals with physical real estate or personal injury) will likely help you immensely.
If you are facing financial difficulties and hiring a domain attorney isn’t accounted for in your budget, perhaps a lawyer would be willing to offer some sort of payment plan or possibly have a paralegal handle the bulk of your case at a discount. Most of the domain lawyers I’ve worked with have been more than reasonable when it comes to billing.
From my perspective, we shouldn’t look at hiring an attorney as a cost. We should look at it as a way to save us money and to reduce stress.
As I’ve done in the past, here is a list of attorneys with significant domain name experience. I’ve bolded the attorneys I’ve personally used and can recommend based on my own experiences:
- Karen Bernstein
- John Berryhill
- Bret Fausett
- Ari Goldberger
- Aaron Hall
- Andrew Hazen
- Paul Keating
- Stevan Lieberman
- Brett Lewis
- Bret Moore
- Zak Muscovitch
- Howard Neu
- Marco Randazza
- Enrico Schaefer
- Steve Sturgeon
If you can recommend a good domain name attorney or law firm that you have used, please do so in the comment section.