GoDaddy reviews : Great idea to pay for GoDaddy?? Can I use a domain that is a trademarked phrase owned by an out of business company?

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I own a domain that I would like to use for a website.

I looked up the name on the USPTO site because the phrase sounds so familiar and it is in fact trademarked.

However, the company that owns the trademark went out of business in early 2008. The USPTO site still shows the trademark as being "live".

I have verified that the company is out of business though..

They were forced into Chapter 7 (liquidation) by their creditors and one of their competitors purchased the majority of their assets, but interestingly enough, they too went out of business 5 months later.

So, does anyone know whether I can use a domain that is currently a trademarked phrase by a defunct company?..

Comments (8)

Why even try to use it? Why not focus your energy into a domain that is clear of TM?..

Comment #1

Good point. It is very hard to find a great domain in this particular arena. I have owned the domain since 2004 actually predating the trademark. It is a memorable phrase that just about anyone in the US would have heard before on a television commercial and would actually make it easy to launch a site in this arena. If I can use it, I would like to...

Comment #2

I would use it, and let the chips fall where they may.. But then, I have been considered a cybersquatter, however in cases like this, how is an out of business company going to be taking ANYONE to court....

Comment #3

Then, I would recommend you talk to an expert and clear the facts before you make any investments...

Comment #4

Good advice.

Also trademarks are only valid for a specific area of trade. You can not use "Apple" for a computer company, but you can use "Apple" for a car store "Apple Autos".

If you owned the domain before the trademark you might have a case, but were you using the domain for trade or business?.

I'm not a lawyer, and your best bet is to ask one...

Comment #5

I sure hope it wasn't the phrase that drove both companies out of business...

Comment #6

I'll try not to be too cryptic, but the phrase is from the jewelry industry and that is what I would be using it for.

It is a phrase that has been used for several years in the jewelry industry in print, radio and television ads.

I registered the domain in February of 2004 predating all dead and live trademarks..

There is a "dead" (abandoned) trademark filed on June of 2004 and abandoned in January of 2006..

The "live" trademark was filed on November of 2006 by a jewelry store that is no longer in business. I have only parked the domain since it was registered. I have several jewelry related domains because I was a gemologist in the jewelry industry 15 years ago. I want to use it to launch an online jewelry store.

This is probably a question for John Berryhill..

Comment #7

Even if the second company went out of business, some creditor, heir, or other entity probably still owns the IP assets. Before building a company, I would certainly want to get clear title.

I would recommend finding out who got title in the liquidation or bankruptcy and offer to buy the IP assets at a bargain price from them. They may be glad to get anything for them. If they won't give them up reasonably, you still save investing time in a worthless cause...

Comment #8

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


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