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Is there an easy way to find out if your Domain Name might infringe some copyrights.

Discussion in 'Domain Names' started by ThoughtProcess, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. #1
    About to make some purchases...
    SEMrush
     
    ThoughtProcess, Sep 29, 2005 IP
    SEMrush
  2. nevetS

    nevetS Evolving Dragon

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    #2
    nevetS, Sep 29, 2005 IP
  3. mjewel

    mjewel Prominent Member

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    #3
    Rights to a name go to the first person to use it, and continue to use it. A registered trademark/service mark is NOT required to have legal rights to the name. This is why trademark search companies can charge several hundred dollars and up for a search - it's a lot more involved than just checking to see if it is a registered trademark/service mark and no central database exists that checks for all possible prior usage. If mom and pop have a business with a similar name, even if they don't have a website, you can still be infringing upon their name. It takes a lot of work to explore all possible prior uses of a name. Similar and foreign spellings can also be infringement. If you are going to spend a lot of time and money developing a site, you should pay to have a search done - and even that doesn't give you 100% protection. A free - but incomplete method -is to do web searches for prior usage.

    Generally, a trademark/servicemark is granted based on the type of business or usuage. Larger companies will obtain registration in all 40 classifications to have broad protection.

    You especially want to steer clear of having a similar name to another company offering a similar product or usuage.... i.e. if there is a "Blue Widgets Computers" don't register "blu widget computer products." "Blue Widgets T-Shirt Company" would probably be ok (assuming there isn't a t-shirt company with a similar name).The basic rules are: Could someone confuse your name with another company in the same business? Are you trying to ride the goodwill another company has built? Microsoft went after a kid, (real name) Mike Rowe when he registered mikerowesoft dot com. Most generic names are NOT able to be trademarked (you can't trademark "Apple Pie" and claim ownership of the bake goods product) but "Apple Pie" Jewelry would be able to be trademarked. "Apple Pie Computers" would get you an infringement suit from Apple.

    You can register a domain, use it for years, but if someone comes forward and proves they were using the name prior to you, they can take the domain and even sue for damages. If you apply for a registered trademark/service mark, it will cost you $600 plus attorney fees. There is a one year publication period, and then a 5 year wait. If no one objects to the usage you will be granted rights to the name after a six year wait. After six years, the right to the name becomes "uncontestable" and even if someone can prove they were using it before you, they can not stop you from using the name (although you won't be able to stop them either). When you apply, the trademark office does a search of existing registrations to see if they think there is conflict with another registered mark - but they don't check any other records so the door is still open to have the usage contested during that six year period.

    The benefits of getting a registered trademark are:

    Most people check for registered marks so the chance of problems down the road (with someone trying to use your name) are reduced.

    Your rights are uncontestable after 6 years.

    You are able to collect treble damages in an infringement suit.


    You also required to take action against anyone infringing upon your name or else you risk losing the exclusive rights to the name. This is why you see large companies going after small-time infringement. Not because they are worried about losing business, but to protect the rights to the name.
     
    mjewel, Sep 29, 2005 IP
    exam and nevetS like this.
  4. nevetS

    nevetS Evolving Dragon

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    #4
    This is very true. I know that Discount Tire Company is called America's Tire Company in some markets because of existing retailers. TuffShed has problems too with mom and pop shops all around the country.
     
    nevetS, Sep 29, 2005 IP
  5. romow

    romow Peon

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    #5
    As I know, you can trademark a domain, but not "copyright" it.
    Copyright is for content, program, etc.

     
    romow, Oct 11, 2005 IP