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Trademark Name Domain Derivatives

6:42 pm on Sep 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I don't happen across many, but there are some large well-known trademark name derivatives for domains and they are not owned by the trademark holder.

I especially see them in the online store/aff business. i.e. (made up example) microsoftsoftwarestore.com

It is unclear to me whether to pursue some of these domains because of the possible legal ramifications. The marketing spin is great as it is a springboard to sales using the well-known trademark recognition... However, from my experience and trademark studies, this is exactly against the law - without their permission of course.

In some segments, these derivatives are many and in others, there are none at all. Here's another possible example taken from the front page of Webmasterworld, the thread is the one on the possible GoogleOS. Why not purchase something like googleosstore.com or the like?

I appreciate your thoughts and knowledge on this subject.

8:00 pm on Sept 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There's the ask first school of thought and the "I'll deal with it when I have to" school of thought.

The ask first school cares if the answer is yes or no, but is prepared to live with it.

The just do it school avoids the risk, or even the waste of time of asking. They see an opportunity to make a buck and take it.

What the just do it school doesn't avoid is the legal school of thought that sometimes says "we have to make an example of X". That school of thought often targets those who didn't ask.

The just do it school figures the odds of them getting sued are low, and even if they get sued the claimaint won't be able to collect from them since they'll hide all their assets.

One of the biggest downside of the just do it school is the allure of easy money: Once you discover one way to exploit x-y-or-z to make an easy buck you may find yourself looking for other ways. Then it gets easier to fall into the opportunity to profit from suckers and dupes, and onward and outward. The members of the school just keep doing it in different realms and different ways until, eventually, it's their lucky day and someone - a prosecutor, a well connected person, etc. says "you don't do that to me and get away with it".

Diehards, however, will never stop and will often end up doing rounds in jail, on the run, through bankruptcy, divorce court, etc. It's a lifestyle choice.

Choose your path according to how you wish to live your life. Risks assumed are quite often risks realized. Once down a certain path the return is never quite so easy.

You asked, didn't you? Maybe that means you're not a realistic candidate for the just do it school.

1:56 am on Sept 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Trademark domains can produce a lot of revenue. The lure of easy money. Don't do it!

Recently a well known domain parking company lost a lawsuit to DELL for $250,000. I doubt the domain made more than $10 a day. Is $3,700 in annual revenue worth a $250,000 lawsuit judgement?

3:33 pm on Sept 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Most of my domains have to do with advertised, trademarked products.

I've only focused on a narrow range of products, though, so take this with a grain of salt.

My main product focus has so far avoided any contact from the trademark owners regarding the name. Since I sell their products, I don't expect it to be a problem. Also, this particular company has been awful at getting domains related to its products (but that's another rant for another thread).

One of my side projects, however, ran into some trouble. I was contacted by them (or their attorney), and they asked me to cease from using their name on my website. I sold their products, but I offered a few other products as well. This particular company is the de facto standard in their space, so much so that their name is used as a verb, and products in their genre are usually referred to as this company's name.

So I'm pretty much 1 and 1. For the latter example, I switched to another name but I don't really keep that site up to date (it didn't convert very well for me).

If you ARE contacted by a company, I would suggest cooperating and not doing anything to antagonize them.


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