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Domain Name - Trademark Qestion

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by SKULL, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. #1
    I am looking to start a World Of Warcraft site , and wanted to know if anyone knows if i buy a domain with "wow" in it am i liable to lose it as blizzard could take the domain of me?
    SEMrush
    So lets say i buy domain name woworgs.com or wow-orgs.com am i using a blizzard trademark domain?
     
    SKULL, Dec 10, 2011 IP
    SEMrush
  2. mjewel

    mjewel Prominent Member

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    #2
    Using "wow" in a domain name when the site is about "World of Warcraft" is trademark infringement.
     
    mjewel, Dec 11, 2011 IP
  3. kindsvater

    kindsvater Well-Known Member

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    #3
    It depends on the domain name and what is on your website. You're not going to get a legal opinion here about something like woworgs.com. Something odd like that is frankly suspicious.

    But let me give another example to illustrate the issue ...

    danswowsite.com

    Yes, a trademark is in the domain. But there is no monopoly rights preventing anyone from registering a domain with a trademark in it.

    A trademark does not create an absolute monopoly. That is why there is Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets. Each uses the Delta name, but there is no confusion between their products. You could create Delta Belt Buckles too.

    The primary question for trademark infringement is if there is consumer confusion about who is responsible for the site. Is there any initial confusion caused just by the domain name?

    With danswowsite.com this is obviously not an official site. It is Dan's site. That is the type of domain you probably should be looking for.
     
    kindsvater, Dec 12, 2011 IP
  4. Dave Zan

    Dave Zan Well-Known Member

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    #4
    Other than what's been said so far, one question to ask is why are you considering doing it.

    If you're looking to simply write about World of Warcraft without making money off of that, that might...might...be fine. If you're intending to make money off of it
    without their permission, then you potentially have a problem.
     
    Dave Zan, Dec 12, 2011 IP
  5. snakeman

    snakeman Peon

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    #5
    Dear all, I don't know the details of the case above or the trademarks, but I can tell you in simple terms where you are at. If you register a trademark name in a domain and use it for their kind of business, you are in breach. That is cut and dry. If you use a domain name for something totally different you may be in breach on the grounds of "trademark dilution", which is a concept you will find a lot on if you google it.In law trademark dilution cases don't always go the way of the trademark owner, but you don't really want to end up in court.All the best
     
    snakeman, Jan 15, 2012 IP
  6. NinJaSkrtel

    NinJaSkrtel Peon

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    #6
    International companies employ solicitors/lawyers that specifically trawl the Internet looking for domains that they feel could be infringement. Last year I had the problem with two a few domains, NissanQashQaiInsurance.co.uk, NissanMicraInsurance.co.uk, FordFocusInsurance.co.uk and FordFiestaInsurance.co.uk

    Whilst the legal companies that contacted me, understood and agreed, I was not trying to dupe people into thinking they where genuine Ford or Nissan sites, (they were insurance comparison sites designed specifically for drivers of those types of vehicle), they believed that the usage of the brand name and the model name, was earning personal gain from a trademark.

    Rather than go through the hassle of legal costs and Nominet (UK domain authourity) procedures, I used my Google webmaster account to notify Google of a change in address and agreed to let the domains expire naturally.

    Lost some good domains, but not search engine ranking.

    You will find that some companies are more aggressive towards domains, containing part of whole of a trademark. Nissan for instance have a bee in their bonnet as they lost the case for Nissan.com.

    Regarding WOW in a domain, I would hazard a guess that you couldn't be forced into signing over the domain to WorldOfWarCraft as WOW ( SEE Dictionary.reference as I cannot post live links yet ) is a common word, in the dictionary.

    They may having images as trademarks containing the word WOW, but as far as I am aware, nobody can register a common word as a trademark. As long as you don't use any trademarked images that have WOW in them, and stay away from none descriptive domains like WOWTips, WOWCheats etcetera, you should be okay. But then again I may be completely wrong.
     
    NinJaSkrtel, Jan 21, 2012 IP
  7. mjewel

    mjewel Prominent Member

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    #7
    It's a common misconception that you cannot register dictionary words as trademarks. Most trademarks are "dictionary words" (Apple, Playboy, Amazon, etc). Multiple people can have a trademark on the same word. What you can't do is register a word for it's common meaning/description i.e. Apple as a fruit, but "Apple" as a computer brand, music label or jewelry line can be a trademark.
     
    mjewel, Jan 21, 2012 IP
    NinJaSkrtel likes this.
  8. NinJaSkrtel

    NinJaSkrtel Peon

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    #8
    I should have added as a common word. :)

    Blackberry being another, and I know they are very proactive in chasing down domains containing Blackberry and anything to do with phones, even their registered resellers.

    There was a big case in England a few years back where an authorised reseller had something blackberry-shop.co.uk and she was stripped of it.

    Things like wefixblackberryphones.co.uk should be okay as it is a descriptor, which was outlined on the Nominet website during the dispute.
     
    NinJaSkrtel, Jan 21, 2012 IP
  9. snakeman

    snakeman Peon

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    #9
    A good series of posts above.In our situation, which I assume is common to trademark owners, we used to be fairly casual about occasional use of our trademarks and didn't action infringement.However in the era of internet, in (our case) in about 2008/9 we had a group of newly licenced rival traders get togeather and using our registered trademarks surrepticiously to strip us of our clients, which they did with great effect.We sent cease and desists to all and some complied and some didn't.Those who didn't, we then attacked their backlinks with the same cease and desist letters and generally knocked the offending sites so far down google results pages that they no longer mattered.One particularly nasty operator went head to head with us and backlinked faster than we could kill them and he stole clients aggressively for over 2 years, usurping us on all SERPS' and on all search engines.We are now suing the man!Also we killed over 800 backlinks in one go, which has knocked his site off the number one spot for all but two searches on google and similar on other engines.He has foreign language backlinks propping his site up, which we seem (at present) unable to get to.Now we use "google alerts" to advise of any trademark use and yes, we tend to deal with even the most minor of infringements, before the infringer gets any idea they can get away with it.It makes us look a bit petty, but in the long run we have no choice noting the cut-throat conduct of other operators.All the best
     
    snakeman, Jan 21, 2012 IP