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Preventing trade of illicit goods
Need a database / list of registtered trademarks

 6:02 pm on Oct 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Dear All,

we recently opened a sort of hosted shopping cart application.

The problem was that some site owners tried to use this as a sales channel for apparently illicit trademarked brands.

Since monitoring each shop closely would cost us a lot, we thought it could be a good idea to compare names of goods with database of registered trademarks, in order to make it harder to appear illicit goods in stores backed by us.

Is somebody aware where one can get list of registered trademarks? Has somebody experiences a similar problem?

Thank you in advance!



 1:55 am on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

This might be a good place to start researching: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) [uspto.gov]


 10:32 am on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Start page of the official government french trademarks search service [bases-marques.inpi.fr] INPI ( sorry they dont appear to have an english language version :( ) ..

AFAIK there is no downloadable data base ( they keep this one up to date ..you see from the right hand side that the last update ( mis a jour ) date is usually less than 7 days old ..

You would want to search via "Recherchez rapidement un nom de marque" ..

NB ..this search also covers all EU and International trademarks ..even those not yet registered for France ..again usually upto date ( within last 7 days ) ..updates every Friday morning ..

HTH :)

PS you dont need to use accented characters for input ..and it holds international trademarks for 10 months after they have expired ( but it will tell you their expiry date ) ..French and European trademarks are current ..when expired they are removed ..

It also includes trademarked logos ..

I gave you the details in case you dont read the language :)


 2:08 pm on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Morgenhund I can see another problem here. What about images without the trademark names and items that are illegial to sell.

Anything posted on your site is your responsibility.

How does the checkout process work? Are the clients using your cart and processor?

I can see a real problem without some kind of human monitoring as this is the same problem ebay ran into in their early development.

This kind of ground is ripe for abuse and it won't be long before legal problems follow.


 2:13 pm on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you guys!

Using the links kindly provided by you I basically found where to get XML files with actual trademarks info.

However, it seems that having ALL the trademarks database is kinda overkill for our purposes (hundreds of trademarks nobody will ever hear of are being registered every day).

Fantasy of an ordinary trader of illicit goods rarely goes beyond 10-20 well-known brands you might found in an average issue of a glossy magazine, so we decided to create just a shortlist of most popular brands to ban out.

Thank you again!


 2:23 pm on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

They'll eventually start trying to circumvent your filters. Nike will become N*I*K*E, Adidas will become Ad1das, that sort of thing.

I'd recommend adding some kind of reporting functionality and/or building an extremely efficient "dashboard" you can use to scan lots of listings at a time. Like a page that has a 5x5 grid with just the product image and headline, with a single button a person can click to mark it as possibly infringing. Then those get sent to a higher up for manual review of the actual page.


 2:35 pm on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

It seems that we have to implement combined approach, like already mentioned:
- automated control using regular expressions to check for mis-spellings
- Human-controlled dashboard with daily summary of products added/changed
- "Report abuse" link on every store's page

> Anything posted on your site is your responsibility

Our service is not like eBay's one, it is more like Yahoo Stores -- i.e. bunch of hosted e-commerce sites under one software's umbrella, but each store can be clearly distinguished as a standalone point of sale (however often under same 2nd level parent-system domain name, like widgets-shop.hosting-vendor.tld.

That gives us better possibilities to distinguish ourselves from every store's operations, but some concerns to be legally blackmailed remain.


 7:52 pm on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good list I think your taking a good approach to a allowing your website to prosper.
I like Human-controlled dashboard with daily summary of products added/changed.

Maybe one were you can add possible problem clients were they uploaded a product or products and once they were up tried to do a sneaky.
That way they are put into a higher level of security and are watched a little closer.

Then maybe one were you have a trusted client you can turn off and not have to view his changes or uploads due to built trust factor.

I would as well if not already added to the Terms of Service were they are given x number of violations before being banned.


 8:23 pm on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

One more suggestion: Add a page detailing a methodology to comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and provide an easy form for copyright owners to contact you.

This may help to head off lawsuits if the copyright owners/agents feel like you're willing to work with them.

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