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Thread: Can the .com and .co.uk be taken from me?

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    Can the .com and .co.uk be taken from me?

    Hi, thank you for reading this.

    Earlier this year I was reading an article about a new product, at that time and still today the name had not been confirmed. However there was and still is a lot of reports in the media that the product will be given a certain name. Earlier this year I bought manufacture+reported product name as .com and .co.uk purely because I thought it might be a low cost & low risk punt that might pay off (I have never done this before so I don't really know what sort of 'pay off' I was thinking about). I checked yesterday and all the other .org, .net, .de and some others have also been purchased. The manufacturer is a large global business with massive financial resources - everyone in the world will know them. The product is due to go on sale in 2016 and there has been no report on a date for when the name will be confirmed.

    I also bought the .co.uk of the prototype name for the same product. My question is this - Could I be asked to hand them over by the manufacturer? I could argue that the name had not been confirmed but as I also bought the prototype name it will undermine me. I had thought that I use the domains on sites that could have paid adverts to people who sell this product.

    Sorry but I do not want to offer up the name of the company involved.

    Thank you.

    Ian

  2. #2
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    It depends on the circumstances - not a very definitive answer, I know. Sorry.

    I'm not a lawyer but from previous discussions about this issue, the main things you need to watch out for are trademark infringements and "passing off".

    You should be very careful about using a brand name in your domain. Some companies are very aggressive about protecting their brands. Apple, in particular is well known for it, so if you've bought AppleBanana or something, you could be in trouble. On the other hand, Google doesn't seem to be so aggressive in this area. There are loads of sites with "Google" and "AdSense" in the name. Just because G isn't going after them today is no guarantee that they won't go after them tomorrow. Passing off is when one business disguises itself to look like another or to imply a relationship with the other.

    Since the product will not go on sale until 2016, you might get away with the name only, even so you could be forced to hand it over for "squatting". They could possibly prove that you'd not bought the domain in good faith, but had bought it with the intention of selling it to them later. You'd have a stronger case for keeping the name only (ie not the company's brand name) and getting a site on it ASAP.

    Most people who buy and sell domains probably wouldn't touch something like this. It won't surprise me if you receive the advice to get rid of them quickly. We do have some domain experts around so I hope they might give you a better answer.
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    icaseley (10 October 2013)

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    Have you considered setting up a small site on the domains discussing what the product is?
    So long as you dont stick adsense etc on it, thereby trying to profit from someones else's product, you should be ok.
    Not knowing what the product is, its hard to be more specific, but is it likely to be big enough to warrant a fan site/owners site etc like some other products have?

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    icaseley (10 October 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay View Post
    On the other hand, Google doesn't seem to be so aggressive in this area. There are loads of sites with "Google" and "AdSense" in the name.
    This is not at all true I'm afraid. If you perform a quick search on National Arbitration Forum (the body that deals with domain name disputes for the .com/.net/.org space) you'll see that there have been 204 claims for domains with "google" in their name, and many of these claims include a number of domains so the actual number is much higher. And that's just the word "google" we're talking about, not their countless number of other trademarks.

    But no matter whether it's Apple, Google or Uncle John's Corner Pizzeria - one main rule of thumbs applies: in most cases, nobody will be interested in your domain name until you either start interfering with their business, create them issues (by, for example, trying to pass off as them or as someone affiliated to them) or start profiting more than a few dollars a month from this copyright infringement.

    Many people also believe that owning trademarked domains alone is an offence, which is not true. If apple.net would become available tomorrow and you registered it then you'd be perfectly fine. You'd also be fine if you built a site on that domain that is selling apples. But the moment your sites starts to sell phones or computers, it can be established that you've registered the domain in bad faith and that you're getting financial gain using someone else's copyright - which means it's a game over.

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    icaseley (10 October 2013)

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Thanks, Bryan. I'm not a legal expert, as I said. I was just going on observation that G don't seem to be very aggressive about this. As an example, just now I went over to G and searched for "Google Sniper" there were plenty of domains with "Google" in them. Same with "AdSense Blueprint". If G objects to domains which include their trademarked name(s), then why do they reward them with high rankings in their own SERPs?

    As I also said in my previous post:
    Just because G isn't going after them today is no guarantee that they won't go after them tomorrow.
    So I'm aware of the risk. I only observed that a lot of people seemed to be getting away with it.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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    Hi and thank you.

    Nidec, yes I would like to deploy the .com version so it has a history of being as a site. If I use information that the manufacturer has given to the press and keep it as a 'fan page' then perhaps I'll be OK. Then it'll gain value with SE and be established better should the name be formalised by the manufacturer.

    Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.

    Ian

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    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    This really is a matter of timing. If by serendipity you register a domain, then someone wants it as a TM later, you are in a strong position. If you register the domain AFTER they have declared interest in a phrase, AND you don't put a site on it, you are in a weak position.

    In money terms - a domain that was registered before anyone was interested in the name, with a site, however skeletal, in place on the domain, is worth 3.5k -6k.

    Without the site, that is reduced to about a fifth of the money - you got there first but they registered the mark, you can't prove your intentions were dissimilar to theirs, but they cannot prove otherwise.

    If you register a domain after the main party openly declares their interest, and don't put a site on it, you only have one useful arguement.

    They want the domain. They can take it from you by "legal" means, following official procedures etc.

    Those lawyers they would use to do that charge $625 an hour to write the necessary letters and follow up on what they threaten.

    Offer to transfer the domain for $625 -$1350, without prejudice or admission of any liability . That is a big profit on the registration fee, but a cheap and effective solution for them. The "legal" route takes a lot of time and money. Paying you to go away is a cost-effective and time-sensitive solution.

    LOL I hate to see people cave in when they get a C&D letter. That's when you can negociate a profit ...

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  12. #8
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Here's an interesting one where the .com holder was forced to give up his domain to another party who has "prior rights" to it.

    http://www.thedomains.com/2013/12/23...s-com-in-udrp/

    The case is a bit odd for several reasons, not least that the Complainant waited 10 years before making a complaint! Also, there are other entities who could prove similar legal entitlement to that domain. The Respondent didn't even respond to the complaint. The Panel therefore ruled that the registration and use of the domain had been in bad faith.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!



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