What are my rights when someone else owns my Domain? Feb 17, 2017 · by Domains Direct · 2 min read
In general, .nz Domains are registered on a first-come-first-served basis. There's a few scenarios you may find yourself in when you believe someone else owns your Domain. Here we look at them and cover the processes you have available to acquire your rights (if any) to the name.
Note: this is not legal advice. Please consult the DNC's dispute resolution policy or your lawyer. The DNC has a process for keeping Domain name disputes out of courts by attempting to resolve for you.
The Domain matches your company name
If the Domain name was registered after your business was registered you may have a right to the name. If you registered your business name and then found the matching Domain is already registered, you'd normally have no rights over the name.
You own the trademark
If you own a trademark and someone registers a matching Domain after you registered the trademark then you would normally have automatic rights to the name.
Someone registered a Domain for you, but in their name
This is a practice undertaken by some shady web developers who use it to prevent their clients leaving them. If you can demonstrate that you requested a Domain be registered for you, and you paid the fee, then you would normally be entitled to have the Domain transferred into your name.
You don't have any legal right but still want the Domain
All is not lost. You can always ask the nameholder if they would sell it to you (though this will probably attract a premium.) We recommend using a brokerage service like Sedo or Escrow.