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I have been offered a one word dot com for sale. I want to tread carefully as the dot org and dot net are used.

This is what I believe. Please share your views and let me know if I am wrong.

In some cases a dot com can be spoiled because someone has earlier developed either the dot net, dot info or whatever. This is especially true when the name/acronym/whatever makes obvious the business for which the com should be used.

For example, bpo.com is a great domain for Business Process Outsourcing companies or services. But if someone had bpo.com, never developed it or put something silly on it, and bpo.org became big in the world of out sourcing then the dot com would be spoiled. This is what I mean by "spoiling" the dot com. If you suddenly started using bpo.com for outsourcing you would, perhaps or probably, step on the trade mark of bpo.org.

In this case the dot org and dot net are taken. Bad for me. Further to my woes, the one word domain is unusually trademark-able (if there is such a word!). In most cases it is tough to trade mark a single word. I can't explain why the word is particularly trademark-able without giving it away. Luckily, neither the dot net or dot org are commercial and none of them have even a single banner ad. Phew!.

So am I OK?.

I think what I should do (in the case the purchase goes through) is to pronto commercialise the site to block all future commercialisation of the org and net.

What do you think?..

Comments (14)

Hard to say without knowing the domain name.

Cheers.

Corey..

Comment #1

Hi Corey,.

I will break my long post down into issues and perhaps that will help.

I think the following is true.

Case 1:.

Honeys.net is being used to sell honey coated food.

Honeys.com is pointing to a blog about Richard Honey and his family (the Honeys) with no advertising.

Now, honeys.com would be a better business platform for selling honey coated food. Except for existing links to honeys.net, I bet a lot of people type honeys.com by mistake wanting to go to the honey coated food business.

If Richard Honey wanted to get into the honey coated food business he would not be able to use honeys.com for this because he would be infringing the trademark of the owners of the existing business on honeys.net. His domain honeys.com would be spoiled for this business.

Now my case is the following.

Case 2:.

I am offered honeys.com and I want to start a honey coated food business online. Honeys.net and honeys.org are all taken. But those people use their domains for non commercial activities and don't even have banner ads at all (which would, I believe, be a commercial use of the honeys trademark and perhaps block me from using honeys.com).

So I buy honeys.com and immediately put up a honey coated food related site and put banner ads on the site to commercialise it immediately. I put "honeys.com (TM)" or even "honeys (TM)" on my site.

I think this course will block all the other honeys (info, net, org, whatever) from using their domains for commercial purposes in the future.

Thanks very much for reading my thread. Before spending a lot of money I need a bit of advice...

Comment #2

You're using generic or descriptive terms that really wouldn't be able to gain TM status.

If there is a company on honey.net who sells honey and you purchase honey.com, you could legally startup a company that sells honey. In your previous example with bpo.com, it's like the same thing.

If the term is generic or descriptive and you use your domain to sell products or services that fit into that generic or descriptive meaning, than it's not likely you will have any issues...

Comment #3

Don't confuse domain names and TM's. Just because you use "HomeLoans.com" to originate mortgages does not preclude anyone else from using "HomeLoans. anything else" from doing the same exact thing, especially since "Home Loans" is purely descriptive and un trademarkable.....

Comment #4

It is far more difficult to get a TM for generics but it can be done. I am thinking that, given no one is currently using the TM, I could "build a brand" around the name and at least eventually be granted a TM.

Thanks for your input...

Comment #5

It depends what the term is and how it is used. If a term has broad use you can't TM in a way that blocks others from using it for that common use.

Brad..

Comment #6

How do you call that "non commercial use".

A couple of things:.

1) Without knowing the details, it's impossible for any of us to say if the word could get a registered tm or not. If it's generic or descriptive then very unlikely. (These types of words CAN occasionally get tm's but they need to prove that they're synonymous with the applicant's business or product, i.e. through years of established use, and it's pretty expensive.). If it's suggestive or arbitrary, you could, but the .net people may file for opposition.

2) Common law trademark MAY apply in the case of the honeys dot net people. If you're looking to compete with them (rather aggressively, from the sound of your post ... and hoping to get traffic from mistyped urls intended for their .net???), they have first use in commerce.

3) "Commercializing" your site is no guarantee that you'll knock either the .net or the .org out of your way. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds to me like you've discovered a .com where the .net and .org are taken and you're looking for a way to enter the same business as the .net owner, cybersquat traffic intended for their site, and then find some legal loophole to eliminate them as your competition? Fine print: I am not a lawyer. If you want valid legal advice or opinions, ask a real lawyer...

Comment #7

*.

I'm not a lawyer, but this is how I understand basic trademark law regarding generic terms:.

If Honey.net is used to sell software and is fairly successful, and you buy Honey.com and park it with ads from Honey.net, then you'd be in deep doo doo. But if you use it to sell honey (thus, using the domain for it's generic descriptor), then you would be fine. However, you will NOT be able to trademark honey for the purpose of selling honey. However, honey could be trademarked to sell software, just like apple is trademarked to sell phones and computers (and is not trademarked to sell apples of the eating kind).

If you reg a trademarked made-up word (such as Verizon), then no matter how you use the domain, you'd be looking at legal trouble.

Companies that want to retain their trademarks to their made-up word work very hard at protecting their TM's; otherwise, their TM's eventually fall into a gray generic status, like kleenex, which has become synonymous with "facial tissues," at least in the US.

*..

Comment #8

What a clear definition, maybe you should be a lawyer, rep added.

Andy..

Comment #9

Just to be clear, the present situation is case 2, where honeys.net etc. have never had a commercial use and not even a banner advert is present on their sites. So no cyber squatting! I would have the first commercial use of a site in the honeys extension "family".

More information - honeys.net does host a discussion group about honey. I *think* that if I commercialise honeys.com they would be blocked from turning their discussion group into a) a business selling honey or b) putting up banner ads which include advertising to honey purchasing customers.

I understand what you are saying about TMs.

I. Two companies can use "honeys" for different products without necessarily violating each other's TMs or even the same product in different territories (used to be easy before the web).

Ii. Names and generic terms are almost impossible to TM. If it would be possible it would be through many years, or decades, of use. This is a special case, will say more when I can.

If I can't get a TM, either ever or for a long time, that isn't a deal breaker for me.

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply to my post. Hope you are all having a great holiday...

Comment #10

Completely wrong, sorry.

Now, if you supposedly setup honeys.COM to sell a certain flavor of software, then perhaps you'd have some leverage... maybe... but for the obviously generic description related to anything "honey" related... not a chance, they can most certainly do whatever they choose with the honeys.other extension domains, ESPECIALLY selling honey or any other honey related commercial use...

Comment #11

*.

Good luck, crazy88, and thanks, AndyR.

Happy holidays to all!.

*..

Comment #12

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. If the worst comes to the worst, at least I will have the dot com. No one on any domain extension has a business at the moment. You know, if they do start a business (after me) half their customers will com the dot com by accident..

Comment #13

That would be the most sensible thinking, yes..

Trying to somehow block anyone with lesser extensions seems a pointless and fruitless waste of energy really..

The smart money always has the .com as a foundation for a business anyway. As you pointed out, if they did try a parallel business, you would likely see a benefit to yours...

Comment #14


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

 

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