Is there any recourse if your domain registration expires?

Of course all online businesses are going to be on top of renewing their own domain, right?   Not always.  Even though registrars send reminder emails, if the domain’s contact information is not up to date those reminders end up in a virtual black hole.  And, before you know it, the business no longer owns its own domain.

Does that mean it’s game over, close up shop, go home? 

Not necessarily.  If the name was trademarked, the business is protected by ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The UDRP allows a trademark owner to challenge domain name registrations.  The UDRP panel is likely to judge in the TM owner’s favor and then the registrar is obligated to return the domain to the TM owner.

In the US, the trademark owner is also protected by the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA).  The ACPA is the US federal law created in 1999 to protect the owners of trademarks from abuse by domain name cybersquatters. A trademark owner can request a return of the domain name and reimbursement for damages caused by the squatter.

What if the online business did not trademark its name? 

That’s definitely not a good scenario for the business.  They can try the above two options but are not guaranteed a favorable outcome.

Either way, the recourse options for losing a domain take time and resources.  Both of which are better spent on the business itself 🙂

The best option is to avoid letting a valuable domain expire.  The lesson here:  keep your contact information up to date and utilize your registrar’s auto-renew option.

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