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  1. #1
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    Hi folks,

    I have a concern I’d like to run past you for comment. I own a domain name “xxxxxxx.us” that I’m building a website for (actually have some of it posted). My concern is that “xxxxxxx” is a billion dollar US company who also holds the trademark rights to the name “xxxxxxx”. They also operate with their own website “xxxxxxx.com”. Can I legally put up a website on the “.us” domain? I figure as long as I don’t use the company’s trademark name anywhere on the site I should be okay. Am I asking for trouble?

    I thought I would ask the best and brightest on the web before consulting an attorney.

    Thanks for any advice!

    BradleyB.

    Side note: I tried to sell “xxxxxxx.us” to this company about a year ago. The high-level company exec I spoke with more or less blew me off . They were not interested.

  2. #2
    Devil's Reject Electropulse's Avatar
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    NO

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  3. #3
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    no point in developing it. sooner or later, you'll be forced to cease, desist, etc.


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    I earned something? Who screwed up?

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador DesignerWiz's Avatar
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    I wouldn't bother developing it.

    Ray Thomas
    DesignerWiz.com CEO
    Development Resource & Javascript Public Archive Center
    http://DesignerWiz.com
    ABW Board: Category: Programming / Coding

  5. #5
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    It would definately give you problems... But shame on the "billion dollar" company for not spending $8.95 to register the domains for their company name

    To Good Health & Wellbeing,

    Chet Brzezinski
    eVitamins Affiliate Manager
    http://www.eVitamins.com

  6. #6
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    Thank you all very much for your advice! I'll put the domain on ice. I'm still a green webmaster (10 months) and still learning. I ran accross ABW a few weeks ago...what a great site! I think I've found a new home.

    Thanks again!

    BradleyB.

  7. #7
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I thought I would ask the best and brightest on the web before consulting an attorney.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I'm not a real attorney, I only play one on the internet.

    My unprofessional opinion is this: Put the domain up for sale. Forward it to a page on the site with a "This Site For Sale" message. The companies lawyers will eventually spot it and may decide to simply buy it to save trouble down the road or some other chump might take a chance on it in hopes of deviling the Xxxxxx Corp or making a killing by reselling it to them.

    If it continues to go begging, you might create a parody site of the Xxxxxx.Corp. Parody is perfectly legal and your use of the name has the tacit approval of the Xxxxx Corp since they declined to obtain the domain previously. It might spark new interest in obtaining it.

    Disclaimer: Legal advice obtained here is worth every cent you paid for it.

    Wayne

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I concur with the rest. Don't waste any time on it, if it becomes successful the big company will want the domain for themselves. The "This site for sale" idea is a good one, as is the parody site.

    I hope you'll be able to find another domain name that will serve your purpose, it seems to be getting more difficult to find good ones that aren't reserved.

    Andy

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  9. #9
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    Wayne, Andy,

    Excellent advice. I'll put some thought to what to do next. Selling it might be best for me. Probably wouldn't get much for it. My impression is that .us domain names aren't real popular...maybe one day.

    Thanks again!

    BradleyB.

  10. #10
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I'll put a spanner in the works here.. it depends somewhat on the trademarked name itself, because some trademarks only cover a limited range of applications.

    For instance.. let's say I work for a company called "Beige Computers, Inc." and own beige.com. "Beige Computers" is trademarked and therefore protected, but I can also trademark "Beige" and protect that.. but because it's a generic word, effectively that would only stop another computer company calling itself "Beige", and that would allow companies to call themself "Beige Handbags", "Beige Paint Co." or whatever without fear of diluting the trademark, because they are distinctly different and the word (i.e. "Beige") is a generic word describing a common idea (i.e. a color).

    So, if your site used such a generic word and did not confuse people or dilute the trademark, then you'd have a good chance of being OK. (Note - I am not a lawyer either).

    However, if the trademark is a very specific term, for example "Coca-Cola", "Microsoft" or even something ending "-rus" (as in Toys'R'Us) then that's a different matter. There's a big grey area between the two as well.

    It's difficult to say exactly without knowing the domain name in question, but I understand that you might want to keep that private.

    Here's the thing.. if you *do* violate someone's trademark in a damaging way, not only can they take the domain off you, but you could also end up paying damages and reimbursing them for any lost revenue.

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  11. #11
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    When trademark comes up, I always think about what happened w/ Nissan.com

    For those who are unfamiliar w/ this issue, Uzi Nissan and his family had used the Nissan name for various businesses for many years. On Nissan.com, he operated a computer business. The automotive giant Nissan Motor Corp. somehow convinced a court in CA that they own the rights to the name, even though Uzi and his family had been using it long before Datsun became known as Nissan, and he was forced to give up his site. He wasn't competing. It was his name. The name has a longer history than the car co., yet he lost. That still pisses me off to no end...

    Here's more info:
    http://www.ncchelp.org/The_Story/the_story.htm


    Zimpy.com - Make a statement!

    Die Parasites Die!!

    [This message was edited by Celicaphile on November 14, 2003 at 09:52 AM.]

    [This message was edited by Celicaphile on November 14, 2003 at 09:53 AM.]

    [This message was edited by Celicaphile on November 14, 2003 at 09:56 AM.]

  12. #12
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    BradleyB ,
    IMO , Dynamoo gives the best advice . It all depends on the trademark itself , and your use of the domain. If it's totally generic , and you use it in its generic sense ONLY, you MAY have rights to that domain, but that still does not prevent the TM owner from coming after you , as they do have a duty to police that TM .

    Defending yourself could be very expensive , or in my case , a time consuming and stressing pain in the rear .



    Through the unfortunate luck of having been slapped with two cease and desist letters, both of them regarding the use of GENERIC words in two different domains , I've come to learn a thing or two about trademark law .

    If it were not for the fact that I have a useless AS degree in Paralegal studies , and worked for a Great Neck NY law firm before I got married , I might have caved in with fear and abandoned the most recent domain , but I decided to assert my rights in both instances .

    I have to admit, it is stressful and I was about to cave in, but then a little bit of some of my favorite inspirational music by The Who ( Who Are You ) gave me the "lift" I needed to put up a fight .



    The outcome of the most recent C&D over-policing attack is yet to be determined, as I wait to see if the attorneys are going to go forward with their BS attack, or let it rest .


    My advice : Leave it alone, it's not worth it .

  13. #13
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>he was forced to give up his site. He wasn't competing. It was his name. The name has a longer history than the car co., yet he lost. That still pisses me off to no end...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> That would suck for sure...only thing I can think is that the company was able to prove that Mr. Nissan would be benefiting a great deal off all of the commercials and advertisements that the auto company was paying for.

    There are many things that factor in a trademark case. If Mr. Nissan would have trademarked his name first maybe things would have been different. I don't know if you can trademark your personal name though as I am not familiar with the trademark laws. But it is the matter of who trademarked it first I would assume.

  14. #14
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    Do you still have the time and date to include the persons name that blew you off?

    They had an opportunity to show interest and decided against it. To play safe call again and explain its your intention to develop a site for the domain, if they do not have an issue with it make sure you annotate 2 calls made and no interest shown.

    Personally an .us domain would never threaten me.

    If you do build that site, when they complain tell them your company had no interest in the domain name and felt it was not an issue. If they want that domain name now they will have to pay for the domain and all the time and anticipated revenue it’s generated.

  15. #15
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I'll put a spanner in the works here.. it depends somewhat on the trademarked name itself, because some trademarks only cover a limited range of applications. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Dynamoo..You are absolutly correct. I took a look at the federal trademark website and discovered pretty much what you are saying. The company that owns this trademark is a huge technology company with a non-generic name. I was going to use the site to sell computer equipment and accessories. Probably a bad idea. I'll try to unload the domain like NorthernStudio suggested (I think he called me a chump ).

    Lisa, thanks for your insight! I definitely don't want a legal battle with this company. I don't have the resources to put up a fight. Hang in there with your legal issues and good luck!

    Thanks again!

    BradleyB

  16. #16
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>(I think he called me a chump ) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes, but meant only in the nicest way! We're all chumps from time to time.

    Wayne

  17. #17
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    I have a similar question. I'm not sure whether I should start a new topic but it's right in line with this so I'll go ahead and post it here. If I should open a new topic then someone please just let me know and I will.

    There are a bunch of companies within an industry I'm looking at that have domains that are variations using the same generic phrase. It isn't this but let's say the term is walking the dog. A bunch of different people have different variations of this (i.e., walkingthedog.com, bestwalkingthedog.com, walkingthedogbest.com, etc.) All of these companies sell the same type of product and none of the site names or company names are trademarked. The domain walkingdog.com is available. Can I get it?

    Thanks,
    Kip

  18. #18
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    Grab it and trademark it fast, then sue them...

    Not sure if I'm kidding or not!

    Dang am I turning into what I hate?

    NAW - but I would get it and trademark it FAST!

  19. #19
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    Cool. I'll grab it. Thanks!

  20. #20
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    What Dynamoo said.

    >Thank you all very much for your advice!
    >I'll put the domain on ice.

    That won't help.

    If you have decided to not use the domain, either delete it, or if that can't be done, change the WHOIS data to something completely improbable "tranquility base, the moon" and wait until someone sees it and get's it deleted for you.

    If you decide to sell computer parts form it, put a legal disclaimer at the TOP of the page, and only sell THEIR products.

    Mr. Nissan lost because he started running automotive ads on the site. if he'd kept it to computer stuff he would still have the name.

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