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I would have asked this in the Startups SE site but it's closed now and the topic of this site seems the best for for my question.

I'm working on a startup, and I've chosen a name. The .com is already registered by a domain parker. I understand that it's illegal to register a domain using someone else's trademark name and that the domain can be retrieved via legal action, but is it possible to force a domain parker to hand over a domain when he or she registered the domain before I register my company name?

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I am speaking to U.S. law.

Not in this case. The trademark must be registered and exist at the time the domain name was registered and that the domain owner knowingly and intentionally registered the trademarked domain name.

Since your trademark name did not exist at the time the domain name was registered, the domain name owner cannot be knowingly and intentionally violating a trademark.

You can make a request to purchase the domain name. However, please understand that they want to get paid and the fact that you have a registered trademark makes the price go up.

Opinion: This has always been a sleazy business model and should never have been allowed. To make this practice go away, you have to take the profit motivation out of the whole ordeal. By purchasing a domain name or even asking for the price of one encourages these bad actors.

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  • I agree. I haven't officially registered the trademark yet and I don't want to pay into anyone that uses these manipulative tactics. I'll probably just use a different TLD.
    – JSideris
    Aug 8, 2014 at 3:04
  • Best of luck to you!
    – closetnoc
    Aug 8, 2014 at 3:36
  • @cloetnoc: Good answer. In case of a local brand, assuming that the domain owner is "X" in country "A" and the brand is registered afterwards by "Y" in country "B", the owner of the domain name would not necessarily be informed of the (new) brand being registered. Assuming that the brand is registered in country "B" and the domain is later transfered from owner "X" to a new owner "Z" : if having set a backorder on the domain, could possibly "Y" make opposition to the transfer to "Z", especially if the later is unable to justify a valid project than speculating on the domain name value?
    – OuzoPower
    Feb 1 at 15:10

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