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Im going to buy a 4 letter acronym domain but when I checked the uspto.gov it shows 1 live record. Does that means there is a company using the name? If I buy the domain from the /img/avatar6.jpg will I get into trouble and end up losing the domain if the company file a C&D?..

Comments (15)

You can get into trouble. Whether you will or not depends how you'll eventually.

Use the name and how you approach someone who complains you're potentially.

Infringing their trademark rights.

Know who you're dealing with and what you're up against, and weigh your risks...

Comment #1

Well, the best way to check is to google it and see what pops up. Since there is a live registration, you will need to cover yourself...

Comment #2

What would be the best way to search Google Phil?.

Just enter the domain or also entering +"trademark"? How would you go about this?..

Comment #3

Just type the name in... and see what pops up. This is the best way to check for any TM. Remember, TMs do not have to be registered to gain protection as a tm status. so any name you wish to register, just google it and see what pops up.

So if the acrynom is (for example) imdb... type it in and see if imdb could be argued as a TM. (hint - look at the listing #1). Even though you may have what you perceive to be an acronym, companies may be able to lay claim to it.. IBM, AOL, HP, etc... usage plays an important part in deciding good/bad faith...

Comment #4

What if the domain is rofl.com? Will I get into trouble? i'll use it for funny site but I'm worry because there is 1 live record in uspto.gov. If I use rofl.com for funny site and suddenly a company with the name rofl sue me, will I lose the domain? if I type rofl there will be 10mill results in Google, how can I check whether there is a company using it? How do you define good/bad faith? Does a funny site consider bad faith?..

Comment #5

Wow, this is interesting. It looks like rofl was denied ...twice. And then finally approved on the third try. Appearently, rofl in TMed and covers jsut about everything under the sun, except for a humor site....rofl...

So here is the delema, you could use it as a humor site, and you could make moeny from the domain as long as you don't tread in te areas claimed in the TM. So if you use Adsense on the site, be very very careful. One thing you cannot do is sell merchandise with ROFL on it unless you are able to get ROFL as a registered mark, maybe more as a logo since it would be a different catagory.

In all honesty, if this is your domain, I would get a good IP lawyer to help you out...

Comment #6

Rofl stands for roll on floor laugh so I should have every rights to use it as a humor site right? Why should I be careful if I use AdSense? Why can't I sell merchandise? I bought the domain so I should have every rights to do whatever I want am I right? How much do I need to pay and where should I pay if I want to trademark rofl.com? Im staying in Asia...

Comment #7

Well, you can do whatever you like with your domain as long as you don't break any laws. TMs are protected by law. So caution because ROFL does have a TM (which you acknowledge), they are listed in many catagories which deals with retail (clothing, calenders, mugs, magnets, tote bags, fishing bags, headwear... etc. You went to the USPTO site, look at all the items they hold a TM for. So if you sell merchandise with ROFL, then you in fact be violating TM law.

As far as TM, you would need to visit a lawyer on this one. I don't know if you can or not. Similar marks have been registered in the past (Apple Records, Apple Corp).

To be honest, I would have never thought to even think of looking for a TM of rofl.....

Comment #8

Note my previous answer: Truth be told, no one knows until you finally get there and see what happens...

Comment #9

I always believe that prevention is better than cure right? So I wanna know if the domain will cause any problem so that I can decide whether to buy it or not...

Comment #10

IMHO, if you set it up as a humor site, there should be no problem. Teh problem arises from the senarios I have presented in this thread. This is a matter of risk/reward and what you are willing to do to protect yourself once you obtain the doamin, adn that includes any challenges by the TM holder.

BTW- I really do like the domain, I could see great possibilites for it. So I can understand your interest and your concerns. It is good your are doing the research now. But your best bet is to pay to consult with an IP lawyer...

Comment #11

Just my thoughts, I believe there are almost no terms except really pure generic terms that cannot be argued on trademark infringement grounds. Maybe domains like Cars.com...

What actually constitutes trademark infringement in domaining? If you look at Sedo, many of the names being sold daily would likely be trademark infringements...at least superficially. There isnt any name we think up that someone hasn't thought of in the past before there was an internet...

A very good example might be Adsense.com...It seems it isnt owned by Google, but the company in question isnt or cannot do a thing about this "trademark infringement". Can you figure it out? I cant, and I'm sure some of you would say, "why not sell the name to Google"? Or maybe why hasn't Google for all their $$$, bought this name and reach some settlement with the owner?.

I would venture to think most of our domains we own have some trademark application on them..some way or the other. Is it simply a case of "might is right"? Or maybe this is best left to the lawyers and judges...I dont know...

Hope this can arouse you to put on your thinking caps...

Comment #12

I think it is a matter of what the trademark is used for as discussed in this thread. You could probably win (doesn't mean you won't have a costly lawsuit) if you started Piggly Wiggly Insurance or McDonald's Healthcare or the like.

AdSense was not used in the way Google used it (as far as I know); therefore the trademark (or prior use) would not be an issue.

So yes, the mightier they are - the less you want to fight them. You might be right, but they will bleed you to death in legal fees...

Comment #13

I'd say to hire an IP lawyer, but just from doing some research on my own, I don't think they can really claim rights to ROFL other than as a printed word on those products they sell... If you look into what they sell, you'll see thats exactly how they are using the mark. They also own the rights to LOL, but an interesting thing is that they state on their own website (ideawear.com) "LOL", AKA, "Laughing Out Loud", is the universal online expression of the E-Generation... So they're essentially diluting their own mark by acknowledging a lack of exclusivity. And basically ROFL falls into the same category. I really hate companies who try to monopolize on a popular term AFTER the fact and claim rights to it.

If you had to defend the domain in a UDRP, I believe with proper representation, you'd win, but like others have said, it all comes down to time and money.

More than likely, they'd only go after someone who was trying to sell the same products as them, with the word ROFL on it...

Comment #14

A while back, I was at McDonalds eating my value meal. As I was sitting there, I notice on thiere cups that they had the wrod "smile". No logo, nothing else.. just "smile", and guess what was next to that word "smile"... you guess it, a (TM)...

Comment #15


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

 

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