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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Trademark violation?

    Hey every one,

    Can a person name his/her company a name that sounds or looks like another major hosting company's name?

    For example, there is

    Could I open a company called or or

    Zain Dhanani
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    There are chances of your company being sued by Hostgator if your domain name sounds like their domain name and you are doing the same business and if they have trademark registered under then name hostgator.
    Prashant T.

    Don't run after Success. Run after Excellence and Success will soon follow.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    The PitLane
    I'm no expert but my understanding is that if you use a similar name/branding 'With Intent' to mislead your customers, you'd be in so much sh1t, that you spend much of your life behind bars.

    However if you used something like:
    HostGreater for a special cheese greater product, you'd prob be OK,

    Now the biggest question is 'WHY' ?
    are you unable to come up with an original host name ?
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    United Kingdom

    I think you should pay for legal advice always, I've never taken a recommendation from anyone in my life regarding anything legal because it just takes 1 slip up for everything to go gravy.

    And you can't say "well my friend said it was okay to do" hehe
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  5. #5
    If you open google and give the search string "hostgater" , you will see hostgator site is shown up at first place. And, many other coupon offers and positive reviews.

    In this case, a customer search for your company "hostgater" would signup with hostgator as they have more good reputation.

    So, you lose a customer. And, your name benefits hostgator. Now, its your decision whether to use such domain name or have your unique domain name.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    State of Disbelief
    Naming your company confusingly similar to someone else's is a recipe for disaster. Not only are there legal ramifications, but as stated (re: Hostgator) you'd lose customers to them more than they would to you. You'd be seen as unoriginal and potentially dishonest by customers that discovered the other more famous brand and so on.

    Any name can be branded, it just takes time and effort to do it properly. You could name your hosting company "blarrgghh" if you wanted (though the misspellings would be hard to deal with), as long as you spent the effort to market it.
    Be creative.
    Be unique.
    Write a business plan that includes branding and marketing.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    New Zealand
    You would most likely be taken to court under trademark infringement.

    The part of trademark law is called 'likelihood of confusion' - there is some information on the actual law and should point you in the right direction

  8. #8
    This is a big no-no. It's against the law to mislead customers by naming your business like another one. The law basically states that if a customer might confuse your business name with another company then you're in trouble. The other company can also sue you and collect damages for any profits you make while under this name.

    Don't even risk it. It's unprofessional and if you're starting a serious business then you shouldn't even consider it. Don't steal another companies reputation, build your own.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    That's a great question and something I've thought about but never asked. I personally have an issue with it just because I don't feel it ethically correct. I could see a company taking it to court and winning if someone has a lookalike from their website. Very interesting thread.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    I have the domain and i have personally spoke to Brent the owner of to see if he would like to purchase the domain he kinda hesitated but said no. He cant do anything about me owning the domain though.

  11. #11
    If it was legal, my restaurant "MacDonolds" wouldve done better.
    Though I did get some business from my porn shop called "Master Lube".

    Ask yourself why "Taco Balls" never succeeded as a franchise.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by mudguts View Post
    If it was legal, my restaurant "MacDonolds" wouldve done better.
    Though I did get some business from my porn shop called "Master Lube".

    Ask yourself why "Taco Balls" never succeeded as a franchise.
    Because anything you did will never succeed with that dirty mind...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    I look at it this way, even if you are within your legal rights to do so, Host Gator has lawyers out the butt, and will more than likely kill the business with lawsuits.

    Courts take likelihood of confusion very serious now-a-days. In my personal opinion I would not do it. A perfect example of this is Lindows, which was forced to change it's name because it sounded too much like Microsoft Windows.
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  14. #14
    This one always comes to mind.
    Microsoft vs. Mike Rowe

    google wikipedia for 'mike rowe soft'

    darn you 5 post rule for not allowing me to place hyperlinks in a post...

  15. #15
    If it is not a registered TM, possibly a claim for passing off, both would help the claimant(if any, i.e Hostgator) in one way or another because the court will grant an injunction on the other company refraining him/her from using the name, at least that is how it works in the UK from what I understand.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    New Jersey
    I think most of the posts have been relatively spot on. the short phrase "Don't Do It" is about where it is at.

    1. Hostgator is a registered trademark.

    Under anticybersquatting laws in the U.S. as well as per ICANN rules and regulations, you would be asking for quite the hand slapping if you opened up a web hosting business under a name similar to theirs.

    Now, in regards to running a different business with the same name, aka, something not related to web hosting....have a grand old time.

    In regards to Microsoft v. Mike Rowe....there is no applicability here, as Mike Rowe had his name and there was no confusion, so he had a legal and legitimate right to use that name and the website....however, Microsoft paid him to walk away.

    Good luck!
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  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Don't do it!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    London, UK
    This is covered under the law of 'passing off' - even if the trademark is unregistered, if the mark is distinct in the marketplace, you could be in for legal troubles.
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