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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    168

    Domain names & law

    Hi, I was just wondering if anyone may have some knowledge of domain names & laws. I have a brief understanding, but have some questions that I am unsure of.

    Recently I found a domain name that I really like. It is non-generic. I have done a trademark search of the name, and it seems that in the past there were trademarks (wordmarks) issued for this name. Currently they are all "dead". I went to do a business search however and found a corporation that is registered with this exact name. This domain name I want is a .net. From what I have gathered this corporation does not own any of the top level domains. I have also not been able to get any real info on this company & what they do.

    For example lets say the domain name is: nongeneric.net, while there is a corporation named nongeneric inc, if I were to incorporate say under: nongeneric media Inc (ie: a different form of the word) could I get myself in any trouble with this domain name? Or would this be acceptable to use this name?

    Could anyone advise me on how this all works, and what exactly I would need to do to be able to use this name? As they do not have a trademark for the word mark of this name, could I register it as a trademark?

    Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    4,376
    A business name does not give trademark protection and is not the same a trademark or copyright. Business names are registered at the state level so it is possible to have many companies with the same name - IE: Bobs Paint Experts in Florida and Bobs Paint Experts in Texas. One cannot sue the other for the domain name.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    168
    Hi Techno, thanks for your reply. I wasn't sure if that would affect us, and just wanted to be on the safe side. Much appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    5,866
    Furthermore, the business may have a trademark on the name by right of usage without having filed for trademark protection. However, if they are not in the same business as you, media, then you probably have no problems. But, in all these cases, it's better to consult a lawyer experience in trademarks rather than listening to us couch potatos
    Signature Under Construction.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    168
    Quote Originally Posted by stu2
    it's better to consult a lawyer experience in trademarks rather than listening to us couch potatos
    Isn't that a strong legal defence that would hold up in any court of law? "The people on the forum told me it was ok!"

    Very good point. Likely wise to contact a lawyer just to be sure. It would make it alot easier if I could find out more about this company, but have not had any luck with my searches. Thanks for the advice stu2.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by XT22
    Isn't that a strong legal defence that would hold up in any court of law? "The people on the forum told me it was ok!"
    You might be surprised to learn there was one domain name - trademark dispute
    where the registrant lost precisely because of that.

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