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Thread: domain vs trademark

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    domain vs trademark


    I'm UK based and my partner registered a .com for me for christmas for a company I was thinking about setting up, a music generation company.

    The registered name is www.generatingcompany.com, but I have since been approchaed by a uk company called 'the generating company' stating that they are entitled to the name as they own the trademark 'the generating company' and also www.generatingcompany.co.uk.

    Question is... am I likely to be sued over this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    New York City
    Well, first and foremost, any advice here take with a HUGE mountain of salt. Number 1 thing to do, which you really should do, is consult a lawyer. It'll save you a lot of grief and aggrivation and the lawyer will be the most knowledgeable in terms of the law.

    Now I have heard of cases like these before, where ICANN has awarded domains to companies that own the trademark. However, in the US I believe, if I understand the law correctly, that multiple companies can hold the same trademark if they are in sufficiently different areas of buisness. For instance, there is a company around here called Apple Plumbing - now the software/hardware company Apple can't sue them for trademark infringement. Of course there could be other laws applying as well, I'm not sure. Common sense would tell me that if your two buisness are in separate markets, you should be able to keep your domain name - but you never know with laws.

    So, yes, my advice to you is sit down with and talk to a lawyer. Might cost a bit, but it can cost even more if it gets messy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    I think MstrBob basically nailed it. You need to see an attorney. A trademark and a domain name are different but can infringe on one another. If you are using a domain name that is the same as a trademarked name, you probably will have to give it up as it is not easy to know that it is different just from the domain name and the actual, exact name is already owned (trademarked). If there is a difference, then it can be argued. For instance, see the case regarding Don Henley . Nothing has happened yet but it should be an interesting test. Due to its being international, the Internet is a whole new set of rules in this area. If I have a company called Apple Plumbing in Florida and you have one called the same thing in England, who cares? But, when we put them on the Internet, it much different. Speak with a lawyer who is an expert in this area.

    ""Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."" -- Sir Winston Churchill

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    To prevent starting another thread I thought I would just post in here since it's along the same lines. I went crazy buying some domain names one night before looking into all this. some of them begin with ipod. My thinking was "I" was one word and "pod" was another and even though I already knew about the iPod i figured i would be safe. The third word in all these domain names is also generic.For example one of them is "stocks" (ipodstocks.com) my plan was to develope a website where people looking into buying stocks in a certain company could download my podcasts and do some research while driving to work etc. These podcasts could be downloaded by any capable device or even something like "Juice". So my first question is: Is I Pod Stocks an infringement since it really is 3 seperate words in your opinion? If so, what are the chances of contacting Apple and getting permission to develop this website? What if I take my chances and go through with developing the website that maybe they will never find it or just leave me alone?
    Thanks for your time! I have so many questions I hope to find answers to I was wondering if there is a good chat area to hangout and talk with people that know a lot about all aspects of web development.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    First, to check if you're infringing on a registered trademark, go here:

    IMO, as long as you use 'ipod' in your domain, you're infringing on a TM.
    If you contact Apple, your email will probably be trashed. Hundreds of domains have been registered with 'ipod' in them. Apple is not going to go after all of them. Then again, if they feel like it, they can force you to hand over the domain to them.

    Usually, The TM owner will leave you alone as long as
    i) you're not trying to profit from their TM
    ii) you're not saying nasty things about them like "Ipod sucks" on your site

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