Unlike other variations that I've seen, the following email comes from an address that appears legitimate, as the domain corresponds to a website matching the claims made in the message. Unsure whether this was phishing for financial info or some elaborate "marketing" effort, I decided to respond and see what came next. Here's the exchange:
(Please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)
We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration
center in Shanghai, China. On Dec 29, 2014, we received an application
from Huabao Ltd requested "gocreativearts" as their internet keyword
and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name
conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with
this matter better, it's necessary to send email to you and confirm
whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China?
Henry Liu General Manager China Registry (Headquarters) 3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai
200030, China Tel: +86 21 6191 8696 Mobile: +86 138 1642 8671 Fax: +86
21 6191 8697 Web: www.chinaregistry.org.cn
The URL links to a Chinese site which, on its face, appears to be a real registrar. The email address for "Henry Liu" also uses this domain.
Thank you kindly for bringing this to my attention.
Huabao Ltd is not related to Go Creative Arts LLC in any way, and are
therefore not entitled to use our trademark. If they are representing
themselves as an affiliate or subsidiary, or any other entity with
business dealings with our U.S.-based company Go Creative Arts LLC,
please let me know and I will refer the matter to my legal counsel.
Dwight Odelius Founder/Principal
Just baiting them here by responding. Note that I do not indicate any interest in contesting the domain -- just a concern that a Chinese company might be pretending to be mine.
The surprise was this email from the company that supposedly wanted the Chinese version of my domain name:
To whom it concerns, We will register the "gocreativearts" as internet
keyword and China domain names .cn, .com.cn, .net.cn, .org.cn and have
submitted our application. We are waiting for Mr. Henry Liu's approval
and think these CN domains and internet keyword are very important for
our business. Even though Mr. Henry Liu advises us to change another
name, we will persist in this name. Best regards Gareth Cui
A few days later, this follow-up from "Henry Liu":
Dear Dwight Odelius,
Based on your company having no affiliation with them, we have
suggested they should choose another name to avoid this conflict but
they insist on this name as China domain names
(.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) and internet keyword. In our opinion,
maybe they do the similar business as your company and register it to
promote his company.
According to the domain name registration principle: The domain name
and internet keyword which applied based on the international
principle are opened to companies as well as individuals. Any
companies or individuals have rights to register any domain name and
internet keyword which are unregistered. Because your company haven't
registered this name as China domains and internet keyword on the
internet, anyone can obtain them by registration. However, in order to
avoid this conflict, the trademark or original name owner has priority
in the registration of China domain name and internet keyword during
our audit period. If your company is the original owner of this name
and want to register these China domain names
(.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) and internet keyword to prevent anybody
from using them, please inform us. We can send you an application form
with price list to help your company register these China domains and
internet keyword during our audit period.
Henry Liu General Manager China Registry (Headquarters) 3002, Nanhai
Building, No. 854 Nandan Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai 200030, China
Tel: +86 21 6191 8696 Mobile: +86 138 1642 8671 Fax: +86 21 6191 8697
We have no intention of baiting them further (although I'd really like to find out what this application form and price list look like), but if I receive additional communications I'll post them here in the comments.
For the record, there's no requirement that a registrar validate ownership of trademark or company affiliation, so the only reason that this company would have to contact us is if they stood to profit from it. In this case, it looks as if they're attempting to drum up registrations for their CN domains. Who knows what they would do with the payment info they receive. If you receive this message, which I've seen elsewhere, verbatim with the exception of the name in the sig, you can safely disregard it as a scam.
Hope this helps someone.
Also a good resource for this kind of scam: http://www.europeandomaincentre.com/pages/news-room/domain-management-news/hey!-got-an-email-from-china-domain-name-registration-center-asian-domain-registration-service-in-china-the-department-of-registration-service-in-china-etc.#.VKqixod6ill