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I recently acquired AboutValium,com - and I've had it parked.

Today I received an email from the trademark counsel of Hoffmann-La Roche which holds the trademark for Valium.

They made a number of points in their letter and concluded with a demand to "cease the objectionable sales activity" (parking) and work with them to transfer the domain over to them.

Please advise!! If I were to put up a site that is "about valium" wouldn't I be within my fair use rights? Should I unpark the name - or just leave things as is?.


Comments (18)

As I understand it, they would have a very good case against you as they would rightly claim that the site is being used in 'bad faith' since you are making money off their product with the parking that undoubtedly has ads about valium on it. Now if you were to have a site that is genuinely about valium with patient experiences etc, the you would probably be able to keep the name - just that in this case if you said anything bad about valium they would probably sue.

I don't see any positive outcomes. Save yourself the headache and turn it over. Hope you didn't pay too much for it...

Comment #1

If my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle.

These things are generally decided on the facts in this reality, not some hypothetical universe...

Comment #2

Some battles are not worth fighting, such as this one. Their mark and usage is very strong. Could you make a site that doesn't violate their TM ... perhaps, but you'd likely be doing it for free and always under the constant threat of shutdown / lawsuit out of the blue.

Easiest course of action is update the domain's DNS and remove the name servers so it doesn't point anywhere - this is important because DNS changes are recorded at the registry level (publicly shows that you promptly addressed their complaint), and moreover to prevent the parking page from coming up anymore - many times a company will take over a domain, but neglect to update the DNS and then wonder why it's still pointing elsewhere; hassle the former registrant why they are still using the domain.

Then work, only, to get the domain transferred to them - don't sign nor promise them anything else without professional legal advice.


Comment #3

Once you get the C&D it's too late to try that. You're getting decent advice above. Concede the name...

Comment #4

Thanks everyone - should have known better.

Just curious, do they have any obligation to pay me for the reg fee?..

Comment #5

No, but see if you can get a sample pack for my aunt...

Comment #6

Nope, but if they decide to go the route of An ACPA, then YOU would be obligated to pay... a whole heck of a lot more than a reg fee...

Comment #7

It's refreshing to know there are attorneys with a great sense of humor! ..



Comment #8

Ha - that's great.. I'll see what I can do.

Seriously, thanks everyone for helping out .. new terrain for me...

Comment #9

^^^ not the wisest or well thought out option listed in this thread...

Comment #10

But you did make it seem like a viable option, I was just pointing out it is not the wisest or well thought out one.

Pick your fights wisely, and this isn't one of them...

Comment #11

The Law firm that represents them is on a yearly retainer and La Roche does not care how much it costs them. They will win if you resist. Respond with a letter that you will cease and desist parking the page and offer to sell them the domain for say $100. I dont believe it is illegal to register a trademark domain or to own it. Its only an infringment if you use it. as it is arguable that it is not an infringement on their mark but a descriptive, but you wont win so see if they will buy it and please check with an attorney if you feel the domain has value to you...

Comment #12

On a basic technical note, when you say to respond with a letter, is an email sufficient or should I respond in writing?..

Comment #13

If you were notified by email, a reply by email is usually appropriate.

Also, if they are requesting that the name be transfered to them, it's not unreasonable on your part to request reimbursement of your purchase price. This is more applicable to aftermarket or drop catching purchases, as registration fees are hardly worth anyone's time messing with...

Comment #14

This may sound silly, but make sure the e-mail was really from Hoffmann-La Roche. Scammers are getting names by writing fake letters and e-mail...

Comment #15

And you can't. But in this case...he was using Valium in bad-faith in accordance with the TM. If he started a gas station called Valium Gas he would be ok to do so...

Comment #16

No wonder I was feeling like an alcohol withdrawal after passing by one earlier.

This morning.....

Comment #17

Please, they just raised the prices on those bad boys, we aren't all made of money Then again, we aren't all registering obvious TM domains..

Comment #18

This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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