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GoDaddy review : Great idea to pay for GoDaddy?? Twitter TM question

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Suppose you had a domain with the word "Twitter" in it, would that be a TM infringement? For example: HowToDoXYZonTwitter.xxx.

The site isn't trying to compete with Twitter, it's simply trying to advise people how to use it. BTW, I don't own any such domain, I just saw a site for sale and wondered about the TM issue...

Comments (8)

You could ask Twitter how they feel about it and see. A few weeks ago I bought a domain with word in it and then thought I would check and found the name was trademarked. So I wrote to them and asked them if I could park the domain and possibly use if for a site at some point, and also asked them if there were any conditions under which they would not want me to use it. So far, I have not heard back, which is disappointing. I'm trying to be nice and ask permission and they don't even respond.

In general, if you are not infringing and help promote their site/business you should be ok. But in general it's a good idea to avoid using someone's trademark...

Comment #1

Thanks for your reply. I guess a lot of it is common sense but you never know how people might react sometimes.

I remember a case many years ago when a guy with the surname Virgin set up a little website for his carpentry business VirginCarpenters.xxx or something like that. Richard Branson's mob took him to court over it to try to stop him using his own name. Amazingly, the little guy won the case. But you can never be sure...

Comment #2

That is a great example. If your name was "Twitter", then you should have no problems using that for your company name or domain name, as long as you are not infringing on the trademark holder's business and causing confusion with users...

Comment #3

I disagree with nielsencl and vote TM infringement.

Twitter could almost certainly take the domain name at any time through a UDRP and potentially much worse you could get sued for violating the ACPA and slapped with damages between $1k and $100k.

My best advice is to stay far away from any sort of TM grey areas...

Comment #4

I've had domains taken from me in the past, but I was not familiar with the "ACPA" you mention so I looked it up at Wikipedia. Here is part of what it says:I don't think what you are saying applies to those who are intending to put up an actual site. One of the things I heard is that you should NEVER contact the trademark holder and offer to sell the domain since that would indicate what you are talking about or "bad faith" as a reason for owning the domain.

But if you have an actual use for the domain and can use in an non-infringing manner than you may not get into any trouble. The trademark-holder can still come after you and try to get it, but they will have to show bad intent and harm inflicted.

I do agree that it is much better to avoid any domain that is or contains a trademark...

Comment #5

Well, I wish what you said is true... because I'm currently on the wrong end of an ACPA lawsuit and I never had any intention of selling the domain name to the mark owner. Luckily, I've got a law degree so I can defend myself pro se... otherwise I'd have to pony up a $10k retainer and $300/hr to pay a lawyer to defend against the action. Even though I think I'll come out of it ok, it's still a real thorn in my side to have to defend.

I'd really be careful when it comes to trademark issues... learn from my mistake and take a lesson from Grand Theft Auto : "These days you can sue just about anyone and probably win... or at least get a settlement." A UDRP really is not that big of a deal. Worst case scenario is that you lose your domain. But an ACPA lawsuit is a whole other animal.

It's best to avoid the situations that would put you on the wrong end of an ACPA action because the statutory damages are pretty severe and it's very expensive to defend. The rule I follow now is simple: When in doubt, stay clear...

Comment #6

Do all virgins get a letter from Branson's lawyers telling them to hurry up and get on with it or else they will be sued??..

Comment #7

This is how I feel and how I always look at it:.

If you are helping and supporting the main site and not stealing customers in bad faith from them then you shouldn't really have a problem if it is a generic word, most games forums for example have the titles of the games they support in the url, they couldn't survive otherwise.

Games companies know they support them indirectly and the major games couldn't survive if there were no forums.

Sometimes as a company you have to look at the big picture and not simply close down any website with any word in it you dont like. Check this out..

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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