When my company first got setup and registered domains, we were unable to get the .com of our company name, as it was already registered. We have all of the other top level domains for our name though, but we're finding more and more that we really need to have the .com of our name. We have trademarked our brand, and our company name, and have been using the TM markup on all of our media relating to our brand.
My question is, what recourse do we have as trademark owners to gain ownership of the .com domain. I have been trying to get into contact with the owner of the domain for several months, by mail, phone, and email, and have not gotten any reply, so there is obviously no chance for us to purchase the domain (Even if we did have the money for it).
How do I start this process? I have an IP attorney, but if I can avoid paying him $250 an hour to send emails and make phone calls I'd prefer to do it myself.
If the owner did not respond you have no chance to get the domain.
From Domain / Trademark
Lawyer can't help if: 1) The domain is registered before you trademarked you phrase 2) Or not used in a way that false represents that this is your business 3) It is a hard battle that you most probably will not win. - Just look the posts at DNForum on similar cases. If the domain is parked you have zero chance of winning.
Remember that if someone else was using the name before you then they have a prior claim on the name and may legally continue to use it (USA). Your best bet is to either negotiate with them or wait for the domain name to expire at which point you can purchase it.
As background, there is a hamburger place in Illinois called "Burger King". They existed before the big national chain. It went to federal court and they have exclusive rights in one county of Illinois (in which the national chain can not have a franchise) but nowhere else.
Assuming you are in the US, there are two basic approaches to this problem.