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I recently bought a site with the domain abcfree.com (not real). The company ABC is claiming that this infringes upon their copyright and I set a deadline for me to comply with turning the domain over..

Does anyone have any experience with this? The company is big (there's a good chance you've heard of them) and not based in the US so my greatest fear is that they would pursue a lawsuit in their country.

Honestly I would just raise the white flag and turn the domain over but the site really needs the domain...

Comments (17)



Well the name could be similar, but they cannot sue you if the products are non-competiting. (edit: Well they could always sue you, but winning the case is an entirely different matter).

Example. Hormel lost several lawsuits against companies using the term "Spam" in their name, such as Spam Assassin, and many other variations.

I guess a lil more details would be needed, but you're best off talking to an IP/TM lawyer...

Comment #1



Well I was just wondering if anyone had any experience in this matter. Like if companies are typically willing to negotiate. I'm not really willing to hire a lawyer in another country because of the financial reasons...

Comment #2



Are you using to for television related stuff? If not. I'd tell them to fuck off personally. ABC just happen to be the first three letters of the alphabet, and if you open the whitepages.com, and search for a business with just "ABC", I'm sure you'll find more then one other business..

I suggest you use it for something, and if they want it, they can buy it...

Comment #3



Ummm... I dont think he is talking about abcfree.com I pretty sure he mean ***free.com.

Hes using that as an "example"..

Comment #4

Well trademark law is complex and lethargic, now I'm no legal expert but I played one on tv but I would suggest for you to just fuck around with them and put up a wordpress blog about your favorite types of ducks. Then respond with "Hello there foriegn web hits, I am for happy you enjoyed my blog of ducks. Please tell me internets friend, which is for the favorite of you?" If they respond, link them to makemoniesonline..

Comment #5



The question is, is there a site on the domain or are you just sitting on the domain>..

Comment #6

Other countries do not have to follow the US judiciary judgements ... I'm pretty sure we don't have to follow their laws. The worst that it sounds like could happen is if your registrar folds under a (foreign) court order and transfers the domain and you aren't allowed to enter their country. I can't see you being held financially responsible to any extent..

On the other hand, if they're that big, there's a good chance they are multi-national and have offices here in America ... that's a different story all together..

Disclaimer: I'm not a hellbound lawyer..

Comment #7

Pretty much, the same reason why you can't go after some folks in other countries, if you have no stake in that country. But as you said if they have offices here, they can file here.

But far as international laws and so forth, well thats a can of worms I dare not even try to pretend to know what I'm doing.

I've seen in most cases it boils down more to context and usage than it does in a name itself.

Though I'd like to see how they respond if you tell em to fuck off plus some broken engrish gibberish...

Comment #8



You have already said you are not willing to hire an attorney so just bend over and take the site down. if the company is as big as implied they have an in-house legal team and fucking with you will just give them something to do on a slow day. it can get expensive. and if I sound a little bitter I am damnit...

Comment #9



I have lots of experience with this. Its not about the name but about what the company or site offers or does. If you are in a similar space going after the same client than you should just pass the domain over. However I have come across this a number of times with a few of the domains I own. I own one domain sitewand.com it was previously owned by a huge company Instantis | Achieve Performance Excellence and it is one of there core products I can't get into details but they came to me demanding the name back, I said no, then they did some legal stuff, I said no, then they offered me $500 I said Fuck NO, I asked them to leave me alone i'm not building anything in there space and not tring to confuse there customers. I simply purchased a domain that was open (they did not pay there bill). That was 3 years ago and they now leave me alone- of course now I would love to sell that stupid domain...

Comment #10



I am assuming the domain registrar and hosting company are both US based..

Personal opinion, not legal advice:.

First and foremost: I assume they meant trademark, and not copyright? If they do not have a trademark, unless you have strikingly similar content on your site, you don't have to worry about anything.

If they really used the word "copyright":.

1. Make sure your site is clean. All content and images should be unique..

2. If you are using any copyrighted terms, provide attributions on your web site..

3. Respond to them, stating (1) and (2) and forget about it..

If this is about trademarks:.

Since you have a developed site (based on your post), they cannot accuse you of bad faith registration, or say that you do not have any "legitimate interests". The only point they can argue about is the trademark/service mark..

If "ABC" is a generic term, then you are probably safe..

If "ABC" is a trademarked term in their country, but not here, and if your site's use of "ABC" is in a different context, then also, you should be alright..

If "ABC" is trademarked in US by **any other** company, then point.

It out to them. Their case will be weak in this case..

If they have a trademark/patent for "ABC" within USA, and if your site very clearly targets markets outside USA, you can point that fact out to them in your response...

Comment #11



1. Transfer the registration to a registrar in honk kong..

2. re-host the domain in honk Kong..

3. Send abc a letter from hong kong telling themselves to 'go fuckky fuckky long time'..

Comment #12

Course if the site owner/operator registered in the US is in the same juristiction, the above won't do much in the legal sense. At most a judge couldn't directly tell the hosting provider to shut something down, but could order you as the site owner inside of US jurisdiction to shut it down. So where' it's hosted won't prevent legal actions against you, if you're within reach, but it will at the very least prevent a hosting provider or registrar from caving into a court order..

Ideally if you knew the exact host mask of their lawyer and company, you could 301 to makemoniesonline.com..

Comment #13



Are hong kong registrars not subject to trademark laws?..

Comment #14

3 obviously wasn't clear..

3. If you've used your real name / address to register the domain, go shoot yourself in the foot. Twice...

Comment #15



Represent your self in Court..

Without knowing the domain name and more of the circumstances, it's difficult to say if you have a chance of winning...

Comment #16



Heres my example and real advice, get smart about domaining dont get trapped especially in this tough economic times when executives wont want to look stupid paying thousands for domains, no matter how good some domains are i.e dollars.com, programas.com (all fantastic domains.

Anyway I bought the domain hzzp://www.jonbeason.com (this guy is a carolina panther linebacker and represented by the rosenhaus agency) for 8 bucks.

Jon beason's Agent emails me and we get into a back and forth, of course I knew it would be tough as fuck for them to get the domain for me as I dont develop it or have images of jon beason on there. But really, why hold the domain back with minimal traffic that I would never develop.

Anyway to make a long story short, I got free tickets to the monday night football (go panthers) free jon beason jersey(150 dollar value) and the panthers didnt even make the fucking superbowl.

Anyway, lesson learned - if you really dont think the domain is worth the trouble, dont waste your time. Work out an amicable agreement b2n the two of you. There is always a good chance the company suing you cant take the domain from you unless your domain is something like this ebaysuperseller.com or verizonporn.com or applemacverizon.com. If your domain is something like horizon.com then thats a completely different thing. If you have a domain like Horizonphones.com, I beleive thats a case you can win.

Remember it's just 8 bucks and this isnt 98 when you could buy domains like hxxp://bodybuilding.com and watermelon.com for 3k.

Take whatever you get and plough back the profits into your business...

Comment #17


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

 

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