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Howdy!.

I'm wondering if city names are trademarked or are they considered public domain??.

So, could I have business or domain called "Dallas Autos" and/or dallasautos.com without fear of running into TM issues? TM issues with regard to using the name of a city I mean.

EDIT: If anyone can point me to case law or some kind of evidence one way or the other I'd appreciate it!.

Thanks!.

Lyte..

Comments (18)

City names are public domain. Noone owns a city...

Comment #1

That's what I think! But, I can't find any anything (online) that says that. Do you... or anyone else... know where I can find this fact written online?.

I'm looking here... http://www.uspto.gov/ and haven't found anything yet.

Thanks!.

Lyte..

Comment #2

Not trademarked.

I have two city names in my protfolio.

There is nothing to worry about it. No one can do anything about it...

Comment #3

Ah good one, I was wondering just that. I have three UK towns/city names registered as .be's - although probably only one of them will be worthwhile developing. anyway thanks..

Comment #4

Just so anyone doesn't get too carried away here.......

There are limits:.

Chicago.

Boston.

These two come to mind off the top of my head. they ARE TMed.... as long and you do not venture into thier catagory. There are others, but I can't think of them...

Comment #5

Yes I am... They own the city TM in the music industry.. (and Chicago the musical under entertainment I believe).

I just didn't want to have to read.. :So I can do chicagorecords.com and sell Chicago CDs because the name is a generic city"...

Comment #6

Okay, here's a wrinkle...

We have a local "celebrity" (radio dj) here in Texas who's trying to get a city to change it's name to his name. He spoke to his attorney on the air (criminal defense) asking if he was going to lose rights to his name. The attorney said no but I think he may once his name becomes public domain as a city name.

What do y'all think??.

Lyte..

Comment #7

Good news, just bought 20 generic ones before this thread was started...

Comment #8

Im confused he wants to change the city name to his name? Who would do that?..

Comment #9

Lol interesting!.

Who is this DJ? must be very prolific or something great about him if the town is considering being named after him...

Comment #10

Thats a scary town. Lebron james' hometown didnt rename itself "Lebron town" so why would some dj want to do that? Sounds like a well planned publicity stunt to me...

Comment #11

Isn't Lebron from Akron? lol That's a city of 200,000 people... doubt they'd change the name to anything...

Comment #12

Pretty much any word/words can be trademarked of incorporated in a trademark. Others have pointed out a number of city names that have been used as trademarks.

The question of infringement comes up when similar names are used for similar goods/services. Your use of Dallas in the automotive filed would not infringe on the trademark dallas owned by Lorimar in relation to their long running soap, the trademark dallas owned by Dallas Semiconductors, or any of the other dozen or so trademarks dallas registered with the USPTO that are not related to automotive goods or services.

It might infringe on federal trademarks related to the automotive industry or trademarks in your state of business. And, of course, there's the whole rest of the world to consider. No doubt there are a number of companies out there who have a legitimate trademark interest in dallas autos. The question is do you have an interest as well which does not infringe on their exclusive rights.

If the question is whether the city has rights to the name then this is simple a question of looking up the term in the appropriate trademark databases to see if they have one. A city is basically treated no different than any other corporation. If they haven't bothered or been able to obtain a trademark then they have no exclusive rights to it. If they have then they do.

One city who won a UDRP for their name was Barcelona. http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/deci...2000-0505.html.

But that's not the end of the story. Even though Barcelona got their name through the UDRP the original registrant subsequently sued them in the US and got the name back. The reason given was that although they had a trademark in Spain they had no trademark in the US.

There is no clear cut yes or no to a generic question such as are cut names trademarked. You have to look at each name on an individual basis and consider a number of variables...

Comment #13

Good info Prima!.

The question is more about someone who owns the TM to their name (cuz they're a celebrity) losing rights if their name becomes the name of a city too. The previous links (case studies) say a person has the right to identify the geographic location in which their buisness resides! So...

For example, if Dallas, TX became Tom Cruise, TX does Dallas Auto get to change their name to Tom Cruise Auto?! Which of course, means they're going to want to have tomcruiseauto.com! Or tomcruisevideo.com or ... you get the idea.

Wouldn't that be weird?!.

Lyte..

Comment #14

You can't loose your trademark rights unless you don't maintain your trademark, ie keep the registration current, enforce it, etc, or it becomes a generic term. There are a number of ways a celebrity could go about letting a city use his name where he would still retain his trademark.

Look at it this way. If there is some rule that says that celebrities have no protection if their name is the same as that of a city then a lot of people are in trouble. What about the band Berlin named after a city? What about the band Asia, named after a whole continent?.

I think the only trademark issue here is how much publicity he's going to spin out of bringing it up..

Comment #15

Oh, it's going to be huge... I imagine! Thus my curiosity! If I thought I could name my biz after a well known (albeit local) celebrity, I sure would!.

Thanks for all your info!.

Lyte..

Comment #16

They are city trademarked because know can own a city...

Comment #17

Not to be a jerk. But please read the thread next time. This is exactly what we were talking about in all of the previous posts...

Comment #18


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

 

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