Often the inquiry comes with a list of vulnerable domains the purported squatter is seeking, for example: <yourmark.com.hk.>, <yourmarksucks.co.jp>, etc.
Invariably, of course, the trademark owner becomes understandably concerned, if not outraged, that a third party is apparently trying to steal its trademarks and register conflicting domain names. However, the email is nothing other than a marketing ploy. If you respond to this email insisting that you have not authorized the bogus domain name registrations, you will be told that unless YOU register the domain names through the service provider, the bogus registrations will proceed. Hence the email is intended merely to get the recipient to panic and register the domains through the emailer’s services.
In reality, there may be good reasons to acquire the domains the scamming provider mentions in his/her email. In particular, if the domains in question are really valuable to you or your business, because, for example, they might attract customers in a geographic region you are entering, then pursuing registration might be worthwhile. But we would recommend contacting counsel or a reliable registrar and acquiring them separately from the purported service provider who wrote the above email. By and large, that service provider is just looking to make a quick buck by convincing rights holders that their rights are in jeopardy—and often the domains can be acquired less expensively from another service provider.
Whether to acquire domains beyond the standard generics (.com, .info, .net, etc.) really involves a number of considerations, including: the geographic scope of your marketing efforts and sales channels; the geographic scope of your trademark registrations; the nature of your products and the channels of trade and advertising you use; and your budget.
The budget issue is more significant than it may first seem. While domain name registrations are not expensive, if a company tries to obtain registrations covering all of its marks and each iteration or misspelling of each mark under each top-level domain, the cost and administrative burden would quickly become overwhelming.
Furthermore, the rules around how to challenge squatters vary by registrar, and sometimes have little to do with trademark rights per se. So if there are regions of the world that are or will become important, or certain other generic top-level domains that may be more resonant with your business, exploring defensive and proactive registrations to ward off squatters will be wise. But those proactive steps need not include reflexively responding to the scamming email above.
The bottom line is that a strategic approach to domain name acquisition will be deliberate and take into account a variety of factors relating to your business and future goals. It’s rare that simply acquiring the supposedly vulnerable domain names offered in the scamming email above is the best answer.