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  1. #1

    Exclamation Will I run into legal issues if my domain name contains company name?

    Hi, I have a quick question, if the domain name contains company name, for example: NoMicrosoft.com or MicrosoftSucks.com (these are just my example)

    Will I run into legal issues for having a domain name that contains a word that's associated with an existing company's name? Please do not give me your guessed answer, I need a definate answer, thank you.

    This is just my guessed answer: I believe it shouldn't have legal issues, because I remember people back in the 1990s were buying actual company name's domain name, example: sony.com microsoft.com and they were selling those domain name to companies for alot of money, so my domain name only contains the company's name, not even the actual company's name, so I think it shouldn't have any problems, but I just want a definate answer from people who know the law.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    168
    Well if your intention is to buy domain names of known companies names for the purpose of selling them back to the company for large amounts of money, then it is not allowed. It is called cybersquatting. There have been many lawsuits regarding these issues. If you search Google, you will find alot of them.

    Here are some quotes from the ICANN Domain Dispute Resolution Policy, followed by the link to the actual policy in full. What you refered to in your post would be concidered bad faith.

    4) Mandatory Administrative Proceeding.

    This Paragraph sets forth the type of disputes for which you are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding. These proceedings will be conducted before one of the administrative-dispute-resolution service providers listed at www.icann.org/udrp/approved-providers.htm (each, a "Provider").

    a. Applicable Disputes. You are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third party (a "complainant") asserts to the applicable Provider, in compliance with the Rules of Procedure, that

    (i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

    (ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

    (iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

    In the administrative proceeding, the complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present.

    b. Evidence of Registration and Use in Bad Faith. For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

    (i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

    (ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

    (iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

    (iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.

    http://www.icann.org/udrp/udrp-policy-24oct99.htm

  3. #3
    Although not authoritative, the links below provide a layperson's understanding:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybersquatting

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UDRP

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anticyb...Protection_Act

    Such issues are handled far differently today than they were for the past 10 years.

    And welcome aboard.

  4. #4

    Exclamation

    Let me update my question then, I already own the domain name I wanted, but I'm definately not trying to sell domain for profit, I'm only trying to make a website to talk about the bad stuff about a particular company.

    What I want to know is, is it okay for me to have the domain name with company name as part of the whole domain name, ex: NoSony.com or SonySucks.com these are just my example, i don't want to reveal my domain, but my domain is basically NoCompanyname.com where the Companyname is the company's name.

    I just want to know if it's okay for me to use this domain to make my website to talk against the company, will the domain name itself run into any legal issues? That's what I want to know.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Kathmandu, Nepal
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    3,937
    The short answer is maybe. The long answer is perhaps.

    You can search cases with the term sucks, I believe some have won, some have lost, in general I think it is ok. If they use UDRP to try and take the domain back they have to prove bad faith, generally trying to profit from it (selling to them, selling competitor's products, etc). However, this isn't the place for legal advice. You need a lawyer to give you the answer, I suggest looking up John Berryhill (http://www.johnberryhill.com). He knows his stuff.
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  6. #6
    One "rule of thumb" is these disputes are fact-intensive: it depends on any and all
    facts gathered and evaluated. So how one turns out does or doesn't necessarily
    "dictate" how another will result.

    Some more related readings:

    http://techlawadvisor.com/2005/01/gr...rk-rights.html

    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1101738481523

    http://www.citizen.org/litigation/br...es.cfm?ID=6649

    Ideally gripe sites are protected under fair use. But the reality is the company that
    is being targetted by the gripe site can potentially run you down financially if they
    opt to sue you for alleged trademark infringement.

    Nowadays many parties see the value of using other means of dispute resolution
    like the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) as mentioned by zwolf. UDRP has
    no monetary damages involved, it only either transfers the domain name to the
    complaining party or denies it.

    Bottom line: it boils down to your intent, and being aware of what any applicable
    law says.

    Edit: just saw kohashi recommend Dr. Berryhill. He's one of the best, but don't
    always expect him to answer for free since his time's valuable, just like everyone
    else's.
    Last edited by Dave_Z; 12-13-2006 at 04:21 AM.

  7. #7

    Exclamation

    I think the 1st Amendment freedom of speech will allow me to talk about certain company if what I'm saying is true and not made up lies. People should have the freedom to talk about their opinions and share it with others who cares.

  8. #8
    Keep in mind that "challenging" a large company that enjoys suing people is probably not a good idea.

    They have a lot more money then you do, and you will be obliged to respond to any lawsuit you receive.

    For example, if you put up a "noCompany.com" website and start talking poorly about "Company's" product/service.... they might decide that the best way to take you down is to require you to spend endless amounts of money to defend yourself in court.

    Whether you would win or not (and recoup your financial lose) is open for debate and depends on many factors.

    However... is it worth your time and potential money? Only you can make that decision.

    In other words, to answer your question... "it depends". But the bigger question is whether you really want to challenge this company or not.

    Good luck!
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Shintasoft
    I think the 1st Amendment freedom of speech will allow me to talk about certain company if what I'm saying is true and not made up lies. People should have the freedom to talk about their opinions and share it with others who cares.
    Yes, this is correct. However, the company might decide that it is fun to drag you into court and cost you time/money to defend your right to freedom of speech.

    The issue here isn't if you can do this, but is if you want to do this. Be sure to consider the financial ramifications if you upset the wrong person who has deeper pockets then you.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mrzippy
    Keep in mind that "challenging" a large company that enjoys suing people is probably not a good idea.

    They have a lot more money then you do, and you will be obliged to respond to any lawsuit you receive.

    For example, if you put up a "noCompany.com" website and start talking poorly about "Company's" product/service.... they might decide that the best way to take you down is to require you to spend endless amounts of money to defend yourself in court.

    Whether you would win or not (and recoup your financial lose) is open for debate and depends on many factors.

    However... is it worth your time and potential money? Only you can make that decision.

    In other words, to answer your question... "it depends". But the bigger question is whether you really want to challenge this company or not.

    Good luck!
    hmm... reality really don't sound very nice, that means the big companies have more power than the government LOL, money is good but money turn people rotten X_x;
    Last edited by Shintasoft; 12-13-2006 at 04:48 AM.

  11. #11

    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by mrzippy
    Yes, this is correct. However, the company might decide that it is fun to drag you into court and cost you time/money to defend your right to freedom of speech.

    The issue here isn't if you can do this, but is if you want to do this. Be sure to consider the financial ramifications if you upset the wrong person who has deeper pockets then you.
    I want to thank you for your input in this thread. Time wise, I have alot of free time because I work for myself, fixing people's computer in the city so I'm not tight to a fixed 40hrs/week schedule. Money wise, if I win the sue, the cost will be covered by the company who try to sue me, and by losing, it will ruin their reputation even more and make them faceless and bring shame into the company. If you take a look at my website, you will know i'm a very motivated person and I'm not a fool, so I believe I will not be easily defeated because I'm very good at brainstorming ideas and facts.

  12. #12
    Do you really think you will bring shame to microsoft or sony? (I'm just using your two examples.)

    Having good ideas and brainstorming is nice, but this will not help you when you have no more money and you can no longer afford to pay your rent.

    You will not get any money unless you win, and it may take many many many years before you see even one penny.

    Good luck!
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  13. #13
    Here's one site of one guy who's been there, done that:

    http://taubmansucks.com/

    Just be aware of your potential risks, then decide whether it's worth it or not.

    Enjoy.

  14. #14

    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by mrzippy
    Do you really think you will bring shame to microsoft or sony? (I'm just using your two examples.)

    Having good ideas and brainstorming is nice, but this will not help you when you have no more money and you can no longer afford to pay your rent.

    You will not get any money unless you win, and it may take many many many years before you see even one penny.

    Good luck!
    No, my target is not Microsoft nor SONY, I'm actually a Microsoft fan, that's why my website look and work exactly like Windows XP, as for SONY, I'm a fan of their Playstation console, so I don't hate any of those two company. The company I'm targeting at is "suppose" to be the 2nd largest Computer Retail Store in North America, right below BestBuy (which is number one), you probably have guessed it but let's not discuss about them here.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Kathmandu, Nepal
    Posts
    3,937
    Shinta, just because you're right doesn't mean you can't be brought into legal dispute. It is a good thing to remember There is domain court (udrp) and then civil court as well assuming you both are in the same country. So they could approach it different ways, and I have only heard of one case where damages were awarded to cover legal fees and it was fairly recently.

    http://www.worldtrademarklawreport.com/Article/?r=6230
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  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    48
    Okay let me put it this way. We live in a coward, dictator world where the big fish almost always kills the small fish. But don't you think the value of life is the same no matter what the size, color, shape, size, beauty or importance of the fish?

    If we are correct but if we are small we will never win anything. Hence, we all should be together to fight injustice and wrong things and not believe in dirty words like Democracy or Jehad.

    So, I all want to say is...Shintasoft, you may be correct but you have to bring like minded people together to fight the wrongs done by a big company.

    And by the way your website shintasoft.com is cool.
    - Just a small ordinary customer looking for cheap and best things backed with great customer support and honest business practises.
    - Not affiliated with anyone.
    - Looking for honest answers and giving honest responses.

  17. #17
    Hello,

    You are not allowed to use the company names like microsoft, yahoo, google, hotmail or any companies that have their name copyrighted. If you use them then the companies can take legal actions against you.

    Thank you.

    Regards,

  18. #18

    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by iwanttolearn
    Okay let me put it this way. We live in a coward, dictator world where the big fish almost always kills the small fish. But don't you think the value of life is the same no matter what the size, color, shape, size, beauty or importance of the fish?

    If we are correct but if we are small we will never win anything. Hence, we all should be together to fight injustice and wrong things and not believe in dirty words like Democracy or Jehad.

    So, I all want to say is...Shintasoft, you may be correct but you have to bring like minded people together to fight the wrongs done by a big company.

    And by the way your website shintasoft.com is cool.
    Thanks for the comment on the website ^_^;

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by hostechsupport
    You are not allowed to use the company names like microsoft, yahoo, google, hotmail or any companies that have their name copyrighted.
    That's "trademarked".

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Shintasoft
    Money wise, if I win the sue, the cost will be covered by the company who try to sue me, and by losing, it will ruin their reputation even more and make them faceless and bring shame into the company.
    I won a sucks.com lawsuit (TaubmanSucks.com), so even though I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice (and all that good stuff), I do have some experience in this area. And from my experience:

    * Although you can lose a lot of money if you lose the case, you will not gain any money if you win. You may get back some of your miscellaneous expenses, although you may have to fight for even that.

    * The reputation of the company that sues you will probably not suffer one iota if they lose, and I doubt that they'll be the slightest bit ashamed. Even though I whipped The Taubman Company soundly, I've seen no evidence that their reputation has suffered in the slightest, and they certainly don't seem to be the least ashamed. Their loss in court may have caused some hand-wringing and consternation at Taubman -- but that probably lasted about 24 hours, and then I suspect that it was back to business-as-usual. The lawsuit was a MAJOR deal for me, but from their point of view I was probably no more than an insignificant blip on their radar.

    * If they do sue you, you may have grounds for a counter-suit for harassment, as the law on "complaint" sites (assuming you're in the US) is pretty clear at this point (though not 100% settled). But you'd probably have to hire a lawyer to effectively counter-sue, as judges do not cut the same kind of slack to people who file lawsuits by themselves as they do to people who defend themselves from lawsuits.

    * The company may opt for ICANN arbitration -- which, oddly enough, tends to favor businesses in these kinds of suits much more than the US courts do. If they win the arbitration, you can challenge the ruling in court -- but again, filing and pursuing a lawsuit (that's what you'd have to do, at that point) is not easy, especially if you do it without a lawyer.

    * Even if you win, enduring a lawsuit can be incredibly time-consuming, a huge hassle, and expensive. For example, I picked up a free lawyer after a while, but I still had to pay to fly him around the country a few times -- and those travel expenses were not among the costs that the court allowed me to recover.

    Having been through it myself, I'm an "existence proof" that it's possible, and I'm not trying to talk you out of it, just trying to make sure that you're aware of the implications of what you're doing.

  21. #21
    Thanks for sharing your direct experience, Mishkoff. Enjoyed watching the movie in
    your site, too.

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