Obtaining a Dead (unused) Domain Name

This is a domain name question.

I've done research on a desired domain and here's what I found.

1. Purchased in 2000
2. Site was "under construction" in 2001
3. In 2004, the site when black and the Web history shows a "file not found" error.
4. The domain is renewed each year since 2004 but with no activity.
5. The .org and .net versions of this domain are not active.

As an organization, we have a product that was using the title of this domain as far back as 1987. We recently have an interest in resurrecting this product and we'd like to use this domain.  

I remember reading about or hearing some place about a provision to be able to "take over" a dead domain if you can show proper interest.  My guess is this domain is:

* Being held for a potential project.
* Being held with the hope that some day somebody would come around and offer to buy it.
* Totally forgotten and on some auto renewal cycle that no body even pays attention to.

Is there a provision to obtain ownership of a dead domain if we can provide proof of prior use?

Or what would you recommend in this situation?

Paul KonstanskiProject SpecialistAsked:
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Jan SpringerCommented:
It's not dead if it's being paid for.

Just because a 'www' record hasn't been created does not mean that it's not being used at all.

And, if it is being paid for and not used, you have to go to the domain holder to purchase it directly.

That the title of the domain is similar or matches your product does not preclude from taking it.

You have indicated that the product is "dead" and that you want to resurrect it.  You need to go through the proper channels.  You also don't say if this product name was copyrighted before the domain was registered.

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MacleanSystem EngineerCommented:
I think you can just go to a site such as whois.net and type in the domain name.
If its owned by someone else you can generally click on "Make an offer" and wait for the owner to respond, or ask your domain provider to go through the motions.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Even if the last owner you found hasn't kept it up, there are companies that buy up domains when they expire.  Domain registrars often have a subsidiary that they transfer expired domain names to with the thought that they still may be of value to someone.  Usually at elevated prices.
Paul KonstanskiProject SpecialistAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the varied and confirming comments.
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