Buying a disputed domain name: price

25 Jan 2008
Alasdair Taylor

Many domain name disputes settle by agreement: the domain name registrant agrees to transfer the domain name to the person making the complaint, often in exchange for payment. I am sometimes asked what price should be paid.

My answer usually depends upon three factors: (i) the probability of being able to recover the domain name through arbitration (or court) proceedings; (ii) the probable costs of doing so; and (iii) the value of the domain name to the complainant.

For example, suppose that a competitor of ours had registered <>.  We might assess our chances of recovering the domain name through the Nominet dispute resolution services as very good (say 90%).  We would know that the costs of recovering the domain would likely be the basic Nominet fee (£750 plus VAT) plus our own time spent preparing the complaint (which for the sake of argument we can value at £750 plus VAT). Taking into account each of these factors, we would be investing £1500 plus VAT in a 90% chance of recovering the domain name.  So, subject to my comments below, £1500 plus VAT would seem to be a reasonable price to pay for a purchase of the domain name (i.e. a 100% chance of recovering the domain name).  If however the chance of recovery was lower, or the costs of arbitration proceedings were higher, the level of a reasonable price would rise. The value of the domain name may also be relevant.  If <> was critical to our business, I might not want to risk a 10% chance of not recovering the domain name.  In those circumstances, I might pay a premium for the 100% chance of recovering the domain name. Of course, in many cases settlement may be undesirable irrespective of price.

Brand owners may be reluctant to reward a cybersquatter, and a payment may encourage other cybersquatters to try their luck.


That will depend upon where you are, where the seller is, the tax regimes in each of those jurisdictions, and SEDO’s T&Cs.  You should speak to your accountant or tax advisor about this.

I don’t understand this argument.  If a name is so important to a client, why dont they first try the Nominet approach and then try litigation?

Hello Alasdair,

I know this is an old thread but it is of interest to me.

A friend of mine owns a tea & coffee shop & just recently opened a second much larger one. They are pending trademark approval for their company logo which is smart & unique designed by a good design agency. The business is 3 years old & the website i am looking into ( was bought 7 years ago. My friends website has some representation of his brands name in it but the person that owns the short TLD has bought many many dozens of 3 & 4 letter ( domain names and have no content or servers on any of them.

Can my friend apply to Nominet and dispute this and does he have a good chance (ie above 90%) of acquiring it or should he first approach the cybersquatter himself with a reasonable offer?

I hope this covers most of my issues & thank you 4 your time Alasdair.


Thanks Andrew for this comment.

It can be difficult to show that a domain name amounts to an “abusive registration” (one of the criteria for a successful complaint using the Nominet DRS) if the domain name registration pre-dates the complainant’s business and trade marks. To have a good prospect of success, you would usually need to show some abusive change in use in the domain name post-dating the establishment of the complainant’s rights.  See:

To sensibly opine any further on this, I’d need to know a little more about the trade marks / domain names in question. You are very welcome to send details via the website contact form, and I will get back to you by email.

Add a new comment

Your email address will not be published.

SEQ Legal
Copyright © 2022 Docular Limited | All rights reserved