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Domain ownership and different TLDs



3:40 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

This topic has for sure been discussed previously, so forgive me if it's all old news for you. Hopefully some other folks can profit from this too.

I'm anyhow in the process of acquiring domains and need a solid rundown, especially on legal implications.

Take this example:

I want to register www.example.com.
It's already taken, redirects to a domain broker, where it's on sale.

My options:
a) buy it
b) register example.info, .biz, .de, .some-other-country

If I chooose b) - what are the implications? Can the owner of example.com accuse me of doing anything wrong?
If so, does the owner of example.com have to have a site online? Does the owner have to have a biz registered under that name?


5:30 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>>what are the implications

Is it a trademark? Is it a brand? Or is it a word or string that describes a class of products or services. Can it be said that you are trading off someone elses success or image?

C&D's seem to float freely nowadays and they are basically 90% bluff.

If the companies name is in your doamin there may be a chance they have a legitimate case. If it's a string of words describing a class of products or services it may be ok to use.

It's a tough call sometimes....sometimes it's a no brainer.


5:46 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Option C too.
C) Grab it when expired

Back to Option B. Yes, they can accuse you. It is a free country. However are they legally correct in their statement about you. That answer depends on a few things. Who they are and what they have done to protect themselves and also what you do with the name. If they are Microsoft and you want Microsoft.net then I think you see the answer is clear. Microsoft is the owner of the Microsoft trademark. Any use offline or online use will have their lawyers on you.

Now, if this is company X that just register domain y then they may not have protected themselves. So you are clear. But the real catcher is they may not be big enough even if they get registered trademarks.

For example, If I am big-store.com in Utah with registered trademarks nation wide for big-store. Then your natural reaction is that they are the same as Microsoft. However, some recent rulings have said if your company is not big enough globally then you really don't have rights to that trademark or domain name outside your own area. So if you have never heard of the company then you are pretty safe.

However, the third part of this is what you do with the name. If you registered big-store.net and big-store.com sells just underwear online. Then you start selling just underwear online then you are clearly on legally shaky ground.

But the short answer to your question, You should be fine.

PS: there are some great threads on Option C.


10:51 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Toolman, the one I'm currently after is a company name, with the company - unknown to me - residing in Spain. It's descriptive, but not a pure keyword domain. Actually it's kind of a long acronym.
I like it because it sounds very good, is easy to remember and has great branding quality.

So the fact the company has not a site under that domain name, but redirects to a domain seller has no influence on possible ownership disputes?

Lisa, thanks for your insight. c) sounds cool, but unfortunately expiration is scheduled for 09/03...


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