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Consequently, I would like to include the company name/trademark in my domain name for marketing purposes. Unfortunately, this has often been considered an infringement on the company's intellectual property in the past. However, since I am specifically promoting their site and company related products (and not claiming to hold any relationships with the company that are untrue), I don't see how this could be a problem. Therefore, would it be acceptable to use their trademark in my domain name? Do you think they will care?
For example, let's pretend that I would like to promote company XYZ under their affiliate program and XYZ is trademarked. Would it be alright for me to promote their site by creating another site called www.how-to-purchase-XYZ-products.com or www.unofficial-XYZ-site.com?
Thanks for any of your help.
I don't mean to sound harsh, but there is absolutely no point asking such a question here, and expecting an iron clad answer either way.
The best advice I can give you is "ask your lawyer", or, better yet, contact the merchant you want to promote. Go *directly* to the source of your problem. Nobody here can speak on behalf of another company and what they might or might not see as being an infringment. As always, better safe than sorry. Don't take the chance without finding out all the facts by contacting the company themselves.
Just my 0.02
However, I did recently get a cease and desist letter from a lawyer at a company that owned one of the brands, so I had to take the site down. The other trademark holders either don't care, or, more likely, haven't noticed me yet.
So, using trademarks can be a good way of getting traffic, but don't expect it to last. If its just a throwaway site for a quick buck, go ahead and use the trademark. Just don't put your heart into it because there is a good chance the site will have to come down.
Get their permission. If you get it, great. If you don't, come up with another plan.
But please don't add to the Wild West attitude of the the web that anything goes and anything to make a buck is morally okay.