In recent weeks, I have received many emails from clients asking about an email they received regarding registration of a domain name – which corresponds to their trademark – in China. Every single one I have been forwarded is a scam.
The email looks something like this:
We are the department of Asian Domain Registration Service in China. Here I have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on June 28, 2012 that a company claimed “XXXXX” were applying to register “YYYYYYYY” as their Net Brand and some YYYYYY Asian countries top-level domain names.
Now we are handling this registration, and after our initial checking, we found the name were similar to your company’s, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you authorized this, we would finish the registration at once. If you didn’t authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we could handle this issue better. After the deadline we will unconditionally finish the registration for “XXXXXXXX”. Looking forward to your prompt reply.
(If you are not in charge of this please transfer this email to your President or appropriate person, thanks)
We are the department of Asian Domain registration service in china, have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on May 3, 2012. one company which self-styled “XXXXX” were applying to register “YYYYY” as Network Brand and following domain names:
[list of domain names ending in .cn, .asia, .hk, etc.]
After our initial checking, we found the name were similar to your company’s, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you authorized this, we will finish the registration at once. If you did not authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we will handle this issue better. Out of the time limit we will unconditionally finish the registration for “XXXXXX”.
DO NOT RESPOND TO THESE EMAILS. They are a total scam as far as I know, and as far as every single report I have ever read about them.. No client of mine (more than 1,500 US trademark registrations) has ever had to shut down a .CN website to do infringement. If someone did registered a .CN domain name that corresponded with your trademark, it would only be a concern if the domain owner used the domain, and used it in a way that competed with your business/trademark. And if they did so, you would likely have rights under the UDRP to file a complaint and seek a transfer of the domain name.
If you are actively doing business in China or have plans to do so, you of course may want to register the .cn domain corresponding to your trademark or your .com domain. But don’t respond to the email, and seek a different and legitimate channel for registering the .cn.
These scams have been circulating for years. But some unsuspecting recipients must fall prey to them (or they wouldn’t keep bothering to send them). If you have any questions about a similar email either consult an attorney, or do an internet search for a sentence from the letter and see if it pops up in scam alert websites – odds are it does.