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I've owned domain for years. It was trademarked. Now trademark has dropped. What do I do?

Labeled as question in Legal Discussion started by soopasimon, Aug 14, 2018.

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  1. soopasimon

    soopasimon Established Member

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    Hi everyone

    I posted on here a while ago about a domain that I have owned since 2009. I ran quite a large gaming network on it (Alexa rank inside 30k) and did pretty well with it from 2009 - 2011.

    I then shut the site and held the domain ever since. In 2009, another company trademarked the name. This was not published until after I had purchased the name so they did originally try to buy it off me. I said 'no' and that was that. I did not realize how big this company was and was doing okay myself.

    In 2012 this company floated, and then was sold into what is now known as gameforge (this domain is frogster.com). They bought the frogster company for $60m USD. Take a look at the history, it's massive. It was a big deal in the gaming industry, and many well known games are still floating about under the company name.

    When I found all this out I flirted with the idea of selling it but the trademark basically put a stop to everything. It's highly brandable, the .com, and has been trademarked a few times before under different guises.

    Now's the kicker. The trademark's have now all dropped - in the last couple of days. The reports are up and now the domain is completely trademark free. I would like to sell the name but unsure as to how to go about it. Can someone please advise on how I could get a quick sale, and whether now is a good time?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  2. karmaco

    karmaco Active Member VIP

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    I see the domain for sale on GoDaddy. That’s as good a place as any. Good luck to you.
     
  3. nameaura

    nameaura Established Member

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    hello first see if trade mark is again renewed or not

    if you hold this domain you can list it to any market place first try to contact that company to sale that domain
     
  4. soopasimon

    soopasimon Established Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far

    The trademark has not renewed and it is past the grace period.
    It's totally dead (y)
     
  5. nameaura

    nameaura Established Member

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    list it on any marketplace
    and mail that company with better and attractive marketing matter
     
  6. lock

    lock Traffic.tools VIP

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    Seems you won but you always had the right as the intellectual property was yours. Jump in now develop.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  7. MetBob

    MetBob Active Member VIP

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    An interesting situation that I am sure someone will pick up to develop. It is a nice name apart from previous connection.

    I notice on Crunchbase a German company listed using it (from 2005). Is that your previous company, or is it a potential purchaser if they are still active?

    https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/frogster-interactive-pictures
     
  8. soopasimon

    soopasimon Established Member

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    Hi

    That is the previous company when they formed, but the trademark was not granted until 2009. It was published then, by which time I already owned the domain so faced no opposition. I've held it ever since.

    I have been waiting for the trademark grace period to expire but the time could not have been any more perfect as I am looking for a quick sale. It's obviously highly brandable as there have been a few trademarks over the years (one was by Opal cars but that has also expired). But even now the name is highly connected to online games so am really unsure whether to target the gaming market, or expand it as I guess it could be used for many things.
     
  9. MetBob

    MetBob Active Member VIP

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    The word frog has sold (NameBio listed at least) 86 times. Clearly word highly sought after. Possibly a rebranding might make sense for one or more to the catchy frogster, or use in a product line. Best of luck with it!

    https://namebio.com/?s==kTOwgDNzgTM
     
  10. soopasimon

    soopasimon Established Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far. I am not a domainer, so what would people think a sensible 'quick sale' price would be, if that could be worked out?

    I know things like estibot etc are not really reliable and their estimates vary wildly so I am looking if possible at some real world 'quick sale' estimates from real domainers. I don't mind selling to a reseller who would sell it on - I'm not looking for max market value, rather a fair trade off so both me and the buyer make some money (or end user who gets the domain at a good price).

    The value I think would be in it's obvious history, the fact that it has been trademarked by a few companies in the past show its 'brandability', and that it is a good tld. Any ideas?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  11. carob

    carob Active Member VIP

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    Check similar name sales on namebio.com - ie short domains, ones containing frog, ones ending in ster.com

    Get a broker to sell/market it for you - you could try Sedo.com or maybe Uniregistry, I'm sure others on here can recommend reputable brokers. In some cases the offer of a payment plan can be a plus.

    I would not be in a hurry, that would mean selling at a distressed price.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  12. xynames

    xynames XYNames.com PRO VIP

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    <<this company floated>>

    Meaning?

    <<many well known games are still floating about>>

    ?


    In the first instance I assume you mean "went public" but then you use the word again in an odd context, so, just asking.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  13. soopasimon

    soopasimon Established Member

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    Floated meaning it went public and then Gameforge bought all the shares in a multi million dollar deal.

    In the online gaming world they were pretty big.
    This page talks about Frogster's merger with Gameforge:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gameforge

    This page is more relevant as it was at this time that I did not sell the domain name to them. They instead had to use frogster-interactive.com which now redirects to gameforge. This site still operates under their original name I was left with the .com, and they rebranded.

    But really I think the value is the brand factor rather than the history?
    Lots have trademarked it so it must have appeal.
     
  14. urlurl

    urlurl Active Member VIP

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    as a pure brandable name i would think this one would be in the Low $x,xxx range

    if it was developed or had traffic you may be able to get more.
     
  15. soopasimon

    soopasimon Established Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I am not sure why they moved this into the legal category. There is no legal position at all - I am just after advice on selling. There is a lot of talk about trademarks here but there is now no trademark or any disputes.

    Is there any chance this could be put back into the general category because I only want some good selling advice. I think this position of holding a domain for many years, overcoming trademark issues and having the opportunity to sell could be quite rare and interesting for people to read?
     
  16. Furquah

    Furquah The Captain VIP

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    You are getting good advice, I don't think moving this discussion in legal section would stop this thread getting advice.

    As I can see your domain is up for buy via Godaddy. You should also list your domain for sale on Sedo.com & Afternic.com. I would also recommend parking this domain with for sale page. Check the Bodis.com
     
  17. frank-germany

    frank-germany F1lter.com xpired domain search engine Gold Account VIP

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  18. sharjeep

    sharjeep Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    This. Pick up the phone.

    All the questions you are asking...that is what a broker does for a living. You will likely get the best price that way, and won't get scammed.
     
  19. jberryhill

    jberryhill Top Member John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq. VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I have to agree with XYNames. It would be helpful to understand what that sequence of words is intended to mean.
     
  20. soopasimon

    soopasimon Established Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    It's not about word sequencing or any dictionary meaning. This is more about the fact that it has the branding factor. Without the previous history of trademarks, it would not be obvious, but the fact that it has been trademarked several times, from gaming companies to a car model by Opal (yes really!) show that it must have attraction.

    The fact that there is no obvious word sequencing gives it it's charm, and broad 'sale-ability' factor. It's not product or sector specific, so it is 'generic' specific if you catch my meaning. This generic appeal can only increase the end user base and potentially it's price.

    I guess it's just the simple fact that it is an animal, that some think it 'cute', with the word 'ster' at the end of it. I remember back in the day anything with 'ster' at the end of it was seen as cool. I guess we have Napster to thank for that.

    So as a standalone domain I don't actually think it is very valuable. It's only the domain's past history, that show it's future potential that gives value. In the gaming sector the name is very big, even today. But that's not the point. With this one it's not about the back links, or current traffic - it's the prestige.

    But I am not a domainer. I am guessing a domainer's job apart from going through mindless amounts of stats and catching a break, is creating dreams based on domains and selling those dreams.

    This is why I asked for advice on actually getting a quick sale. I have mailed SEDO and awaiting their response. They should know who Frogster are - their office was down the road from them!
     
  21. soopasimon

    soopasimon Established Member

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    Actually the talk about word sequencing actually can be quite interesting, as it took me a while to understand what X&Y meant by this:

    Then I got it. It's about dialect and interpretations of words. I am from the UK and the generic word for going public here is indeed 'floated'. You 'float' a company. The secondary term of 'many games floating about' would be perfectly normal here. But in certain regions it may look odd. The word 'floating' in this term means 'hanging' about. There are in this case many Frogster games still in use. So here the secondary term is using the same word ('float' or derivative of), for a different meaning.

    This could indeed bring about a discussion of word sequencing, meaning and how dialect can bend the language!
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  22. jberryhill

    jberryhill Top Member John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq. VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Does the company that bought Frogster sell them as "Frogster games" or not?

    Rather than going through the same tired lecture about the difference between "having a trademark" and "maintaining a trademark registration", I thought maybe I would skip that part and cut to the chase here. You are obviously familiar with the relevant market, and you refer to "Frogster games" as a brand of game in the sentence above. My question is whether they are still sold as "Frogster games" (apart from sales of used or new-old-stock product) by the makers of them.
     
  23. soopasimon

    soopasimon Established Member

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    This is a point that I wondered myself. The company is now Gameforge. You can see the takeover on this page which has Frogster mentioned for the year 2010:

    https://corporate.gameforge.com/about/?lang=en

    The games themselves have individual trademarks, which I then presume transferred when Frogster was absorbed into Gameforge. The list of games can be seen on the wiki page here. I have shown the German version of the page as it has better links and information on it (just translate the page)

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gameforge

    Now there is a lot of games, that made a lot of money, including some back-catalogue games such as Speedball 2 (Bitmap Brothers if you were into games in the 80's!). I presume as Gameforge bought the brand, they also bought the trademarks and that made it final. Although sometimes I wonder if I did have some kind of claim, or continued usage rights. Domain or commercial law is not something I am familiar with and instead just kept my domain until their trademark expired, which has now left me free and clear.

    The games continued to be developed but were originated under my brand name. TERA was one game that was completely developed & initially marketed under the name Frogster.

    So for now I think they have their bases covered, but I also am free to do what I wish with the name.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
  24. soopasimon

    soopasimon Established Member

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    Whether it makes any difference, the last mention for the game TERA on the Gameforge website about the developer being Frogster was July 4th 2012. Which was 3 years after I owned the domain.

    I just had a look and that is still mentioned today.

    After this date the developer suddenly switched to 'Bluehole'.
     
  25. MadAboutDomains

    MadAboutDomains Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    This is one of those cases where the multi million dollar value comes from the company that someone has worked hard to build up and subsequently sell. They're the ones that have built up the value in the name 'Frogster' and they decided to let it die. Granted, probably not because it's a 'bad' name, but that it makes sense for them to use their other name, GameForge. Based on that I'd say that your domain is kinda back to where it started.

    It's hard to say whether you'd be able to realise some value in the residual use of the name by the original company, if they didn't pursue the domain very hard themselves in the first place. I agree that it is alone a brandable name and that it has inherent value, it's highly memorable and does have appeal as you say, but my feeling is that it's a generic brandable name now. That's not a bad thing, it certainly stands out in the mire of bad domains that are out there.

    I can't possibly advise on what you should do with the name, the world is your oyster if they're no longer using the name. Getting a site to sub 30k alexa rank is no mean feat, even if the trademark was still registered, your legitimate use of the name is likely to have been enough defence in UDRP. Filing for a trademark at this point is pointless as a form of protection for your domain unless you plan to use the name, in trade, for the classes that you register it for.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018

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