Well this isn’t ground breaking news, the semi-well known Poker company called PokerStrategy.com has been sending threatening letters to Gaming Affiliates over the last couple years. These letters threaten legal action if webmaster do not turn over their domains and websites for FREE. Now I did legal work when I was in the corporate world, and I’m certainly not surprised that some over zealous Lawyers will do. What does surprise me is that not only have they continue to throw a bunch of legal jargon in an email, but webmasters fearing serious legal issues actually have turned their domains over to this company.
How The PokerStrategy.com SCAM works
As you can see from their company name “Poker Strategy” they are a website which gives advice and tips on how to play poker. So they feel they are the sole owners of the concept of poker strategy. Concept being one of the keywords. That’s right, they are trying to say they own exclusive rights to Poker Strategy, and according to their claim, anyone who has a domain/website with the words “Poker and Strategy” should have to turn their website over to them.
To give you an idea how silly that claim is, Imagine if you owned the domain Poker.com – By the logic being used by the PokerStrategy.com owners, then Poker.com would have the right to request PokerStrategy turn over their domain, because it has the word “Poker” in it.
It doesn’t take a lawyer to figure out how stupid that is. But people fall for it because they are afraid of being sued and having to spend money on an attorney. Luckily, I’ve done legal work for most of my life, and I don’t mind spending money to hopefully put a stop to this shady practice of theirs. They should be ashamed and embarrassed!
Oh and he is a copy of the actual letter I received:
Dear Mr. Layman,
Swerford Holdings Ltd. is a registered company in Gibraltar and operates the website http://www.pokerstrategy.com. We have noticed that you are the registered owner of the domain http://www.pokerstrategygeeks.com. This address is confusingly similar to the name of our product and the website http://www.pokerstrategy.com.
You do not have any rights in the name/product of PokerStrategy.com and no legitimate interest in respect of the domain name http://www.pokerstrategygeeks.com. Moreover, it seems that you might have registered the specific domain name in bad faith. PokerStrategy.com is a registered trademark in various countries including the United States of America. The trademark is protected by the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks and its international registration number is 1043363 (for details visit http://www.wipo.int/romarin/newSearch.do). In this particular case the trademark protection covers following activities:
a) Advertising; compilation of advertisements for use on the Internet; compiling of data in computer databases; providing of on-line business and commercial information for the promotion of poker playing and poker information;
b) Providing access to databases with sporting and gaming information and news; providing access to databases with information relating to gaming, in particular instructional material on the Internet or on computer networks; providing access to databases with information for arranging and conducting events in the fields of gaming, gaming competitions, recreation and entertainment, on the Internet or on computer networks; providing access to databases with electronic publications and with sporting and gaming information online that is downloadable from databases or the Internet;
c) Publication of texts other than publicity texts, namely, of sport, competition and games instructions, educational materials and user instructions; educational services, namely, conducting classes, seminars, conferences, workshops in the field of poker playing; providing of training in the field of poker playing
Therefore, we ask you to desist from using the domain http://www.pokerstrategygeeks.com or to transfer the domain to Swerford Holdings Ltd. until 29 February 2012. Otherwise we will be forced to file a complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organization for a decision in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.
Please respond to this letter until 29 February 2012 and send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we do not hear anything from you until that date, your decline regarding our demand will be assumed.
We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
So the bottom line is I’m a self employed guy that doesn’t like being bullied. Now I know PokerStartegy.com folks will be reading this. So let me be very clear to you:
- File your WIPO
- Try and Sue me
- YOU CANNOT TRADEMARK A GENERIC PHRASE
- If you spent any time trying to improve your website, marketing, and SEO – Then you wouldn’t need to try and steal people’s websites.