I just recently read a case that is currently being disputed in court. The claim? The complainant, TCR Business Systems, asserts that the Respondent (a former employee) registered a domain (under their direction) and the respondent is now claiming ownership of that domain. The problem? TCR says that the respondent was told to register the domain, the name is trademarked and therefore, it is legally theirs but is it? It will be interesting to see how this case plays out. I hear about issues like this all time. This usually happens by disgruntled ex-employees, or design firms that have registered a domain on behalf of the business they are designing a website for.
What lesson can we learn from this?
NEVER, EVER let an employee, firm, or anyone other than yourself, register a domain name. It is all too easy for a web designer, IT tech, admin, design firm, etc. to register a domain on your behalf and then simply claim ownership. If that person is ever let go or quits, they could easily take the domain with them, leaving a big (expensive) legal mess for you.
You can read over the case here…
I’m a web developer and I’ve often registered the domain for the client and under no circumstances would I ever hijack it. And that includes a non-payment situation. That is why I get a deposit up front as well. And I make sure the deposit is large enough that I break even. Also I’m really selective about who I work for. I can spot trouble from a mile away.
Wow really? Without knowing (or understanding) the legalese fully, this just seems ridiculous. If the employee was asked to register the domain name while employed by the company, then it clearly belongs to the company.
Certainly in most employee contracts for IT workers, it is spelled out that “anything you do belongs to us”, usually relating to product development or actual development (programming). I guess this isn’t always the case with non-IT contracts – the employers probably don’t think about it and don’t realise it is a potential problem.
I maintain about 180 domains and would never believe that I ‘own’ any of them.
This just seems like opportunism by the ex-employee and hopefully (for the integrity of domain registration and the protection of trademark holders), he won’t get away with it.
I would think, as above that when asked by a company, they own whatever you do, so to speak. If you claimed it was yours, seems that would have the right to go after you for working on ‘their’ time, if you know what I mean. Also, if you request a domain, what about the company actually running the software couldn’t they turn and do the same. Showing their log showing they actually registered it so many seconds before the other person. This seems like a ‘recursive’ problem. You could extend it to et infinitum. If you follow me. I don’t know how you could expect a company like Bank Of America to have the ‘owner’ (which is whom) register a domain?? Who would do this the president of BoA? What’s to stop him for the same actions? This needs to be squashed quickly or that’s all the courts will be doing…
If you think I’d lower myself to tweeting like a bird, you’re mistaken.