First off, we're in the UK. Person A was a big customer of Company B (sports equipment & management) last year and as part of that relationship Company B commissioned Person A a website. Person A has now left Company B and is using the services of Company C and didn't breach any contracts or anything like that when he left.
Company B has now replaced the content on the website with an article from a trade newspaper about the whole affair. While not libellous, this article covered a very common situation in a way that put Person A in the worst possible light and he is understandably upset that this is what comes up first in the Google SERPs.
In addition, various other people who are known speculators have registered different TLDs of Person A's name.
I have a finger in this pie because I'm frontrunner to develop the new website, plus I'm a journalist in this field.
I have told them they have three options:
- Talk to a trademark lawyer. I found one local to them who will do a free initial consultation. I don't know how far they'd get though as they gave permission to Company B to do the website originally, and anyway I suspect it might be hard to claim a common-law trademark just with an individual's name.
- Make offers to buy back the domains. But why should these idiots profit from their immaturity and greed?
- The guy's name with a hyphen is available for all top-level TLDs, we secure those and build a better site that buries the other one in the SERPs. And trademark Person A's name. Because I know someone else who thought this would happen with Company B and trademarked his name and I though he was going over the top, but obviously not!
Was I right? Anything else I should consider?