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There was a domain name that was registered for many years for a DOS based software package. The original owners of the domain and software package passed away several years ago and at the time we had no way of supporting the software. So thinking we'd never need the domain name we let it expire. i also thought we'd be able to register it again since this was a pretty old site that got next to no traffic.

Today we're considering updating the software and when i went to re-register the domain, i found someone else registered it and it's just being parked with a bunch of ads on it. The ads aren't even remotely relevant to what the site used to be. I don't know why someone would bother registering a site with almost no traffic with a name that is not similar to any other high traffic site just to park it.

Anyhow, is there any sort of recourse for me to get the name back? I'd be willing to pay $100-$200 if they would be willing to sell it. But before I even contact them I want to know what my options are. The domain name is the same as the software package and I believe it was trademarked by the original owners. I'm friends with the son of the original owner. Everything passed over to him when his parents died. And he'll give me whatever paperwork i might need.

I could have sworn i read somewhere that if someone is just sitting on a domain and you have some sort of legal legit claim to the name, you could get it back.

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Contacting them can go either way. Some may sell for $100 and make a quick 1000% return on their $10 spent. Some might request $10,000 for the domain, since you are showing active interest. If the domain is not largely popular on the internet, and doesnt get much traffic, it may be best to let it expire for the current owner. They will only renew it if there is profit being made. Best of luck to you. –  David Houde Apr 4 '13 at 7:48
    
letting it expire wouldn't be practical - since it expires in 2015. I very much doubt if he gets much of any traffic since it never got any traffic before we let it expire. i think he only took it because it was registered a long time, and I found out later that having an older domain name increases it's search value, or at least some people think it does. –  merk Apr 4 '13 at 22:58
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If you let a expiring domain enter the deletion stage then the domain becomes available to everyone to register. The new registeree has no obligation to pass the domain back to the original buyer as this the new buyer is treated as the legal binding owner.

Now the good news is if indeed you have a 'Trademark' then you may be able to get the domain back in your hands as domains are covered under trademark infringements. Assuming it is a .com then you first point of call should be reading ICANN on reporting infringement, if your software is not trademarked then sadly you have no legal rights to obtain the domain back.

Also it's important to note that trademarks have to be official registered, if a company or individual has registered the domain in US then you will need a US Trademark, and if EU then a Community Trade Mark which is valid in all countries of the European Union.

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