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Alex J.
Alex J., Litigator
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 3497
Experience:  LLB, LPC, DELF
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HelloI understand one of the domain has gone bankrupt and

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Hello I understand one of the domain has gone bankrupt and is it legal for me to copy that domain address but with a different extension e.g co.uk? I am planning to launch the same service but with a different company name and extension address?


 


PLEASE NOTE: I am based in the UK and not as selected by mistake - Bahamas.


AJ Genus : Hi. Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. If the owner of that domain name was an individual then the rights and goodwill attaching to that domain name will belong to his trustee in bankruptcy. If it belonged to a company it will be in control of the liquidator. If you want to take over the business at that domain you would have to approach the trustee or liquidator and look to purchase it. In all likelihood you will get it at a substantial discount.
AJ Genus : i look forward to hearing from you with any follow up questions. Kind regards
AJ Genus : AJ
Customer:

I see. So I will have to setup a similar domain but can't be sued?

AJ Genus : Hi thank you. If you are setting up a brand new business then you can't be sued just because it competes with the other business. How similar is the name you will use? If its just a generic name then its no problem, if you are trading off the back of the goodwill of the insolvent business then the liquidator or trustee could sue you for passing off. I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards AJ
Customer:

Just to clarify, please confirm that my understanding is correct.

Customer:

1: I can use the same domain address and provide the same conception of services 2: I must setup a unique domain address and that the service is same but with a different marketing strategy and aim to different type of audiences. Does that make sense?

AJ Genus : 1. Yes you can but you will need the permission of the trustee or liquidator depending on whether it was a company or individual. You are using the goodwill of an insolvent company, that goodwill belongs to the insolvent party's estate. Are you able to purchase the domain name?
AJ Genus : 2. You can use a different domain name and provide the same services to the same customers but you can't trade off the back of a reputation that does not belong to you. Kind regards AJ
Customer:

2. You can use a different domain name and provide the same services to the same customers but you can't trade off the back of a reputation that does not belong to you.

Customer:

I don't understand that part e.g I can but I can't trade off the back of a reputation that does not belong to me - please explain further with examples. Thank you.

Customer:

I checked the domain to be purchased and it is available to be purchased but is owned by a auction company for bidding process but no one is buying! I don't know and I have checked with the companies house the company is dissolved. I think the best solution is to purchase a different domain name and provide the similar service but is not free unlike the previous company. I don't know their customers anyway and that we are aiming to provide similar service but is not FREE.

AJ Genus : Hi
AJ Genus : thann you. If the company has been dissolved it means the liquidation has probably ended. You can purchase the domain name and trade from if you actually able to validly buy it.
AJ Genus : there is a law called passing off. It is basically where you use another company's good will and trading reputation without permission. If this company is now dissolved then it does not have any goodwill any more. If you are just trading under the same domain name but with different branding and as a different business then you won't be guilty of passing off. Kind regards AJ
AJ Genus : Hi I apologise for any typos I am on the I pad and sometimes auto correct gets the best of me. Kind regards AJ
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