Someone Copied My Brand Name - HOW TO DEAL WITH IT

23 replies
I took a long time in selecting my web site domain name. But now, I just discovered that someone has copied my domain name by using the exact same thing as me but he added the word "now" to the domain.

Now when someone checks up on me and types in my main name his domain comes up also. I feel he is stealing business from me.

It is not just the domain. My brand name is spread out all over his site and I can tell he was reading my site and copying the ideas even though he did not directly plagaraize.

He also has created e-books using my brand name with the kind of information I sell in them.

I do not want to take any legal action since my business is very private and I use a pen name for my business. If I took legal action then my privacy would be ruined.

I could go through an arbitrator and ask the copier to change one of the words to a synonym and it would work just as well. The domain name could easily be changed. If he would do this I would drop the whole matter.

I also could tell him to change one of the words in his brand name to a synonym or I will spend 24 hours posting and ruining his reputation on SCAM sites and forums etc. so that when people check his name out and web site they would see so much bad they would get turned off. I know how to make this threat so I am invisible and can not be traced. In fact, I could do it through pen name people posing as my friends who contact him and make it seem that they are fighting on my behalf without my permission. YOU HAVE TO BE CREATIVE WHEN YOU ARE A WARRIOR AND FIGHTING AGAINST THE ENEMY.

I have to end this quickly.

I need some advice. Thanks, Peter
#brand #copied #deal
  • Profile picture of the author Ilya Feynberg
    That's what trademarks are for man. You're kinda stuck in between a rock and a hard place here. There really isn't that much you can really do. Is your brand name trademarked? Is there a reason for a real breach? Do you have a company entity? etc...

    Really if you answered no to the TM, you're kinda out on your ass. It sucks I know I've been there before too in the past.

    Be careful with trying and ruin his reputation...it doesn't take much at all for him to do the same, and you don't want slander issues to deal with on you either.
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  • Profile picture of the author chris martin
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author PeterLarson
      I have my domain name creation date to show which was in 2008. He created his domain name in 2010 and is using my brand name which I will not register both now and in the future to protect my privacy.

      He has created affiliate products using my brand name also.

      But luckily I found it now but what luck is it really if he will not
      back down?
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  • Profile picture of the author stealthmayhem
    If you did not TM it, it is not just yours to use....you were just borrowing it. Seems like someone had the same idea as you. BTW, if he decided to trademark the name, you would be required to change all of your information as well. Seems like a race to see who can register first. If you do not want to register the name due to privacy issues you are basically holding out a sign that says "Steal my stuff, there is nothing I will do about it"
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    • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
      Originally Posted by stealthmayhem View Post

      If you did not TM it, it is not just yours to use....you were just borrowing it. Seems like someone had the same idea as you. BTW, if he decided to trademark the name, you would be required to change all of your information as well. Seems like a race to see who can register first. If you do not want to register the name due to privacy issues you are basically holding out a sign that says "Steal my stuff, there is nothing I will do about it"

      This is not true at all. Your works are trademarked upon creation. The very first thing that you need to do is at the (TM) symbol to your brand name and logo. Do that right now.

      The next thing that you need to do is register your trademark with Trademark Office. You can get this done by a lawyer or do it yourself. It will cost a few hundred dollars.

      You also need to send a cease and desist letter to the person that is infringing on your trademark. Be stern, but gentile. This guy may actually be selling a heck of a lot more than you and something could be worked out. You may want to ask a lawyer to write the letter for you. You could probably get one to do it for $50 or $100.

      My advice is based on the understanding that you have been using the brand name longer than the guy you are talking about.
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      • Profile picture of the author DogScout
        Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

        This is not true at all. Your works are trademarked upon creation. The very first thing that you need to do is at the (TM) symbol to your brand name and logo. Do that right now.

        The next thing that you need to do is register your trademark with Trademark Office. You can get this done by a lawyer or do it yourself. It will cost a few hundred dollars.

        You also need to send a cease and desist letter to the person that is infringing on your trademark. Be stern, but gentile. This guy may actually be selling a heck of a lot more than you and something could be worked out. You may want to ask a lawyer to write the letter for you. You could probably get one to do it for $50 or $100.

        My advice is based on the understanding that you have been using the brand name longer than the guy you are talking about.
        Call the USPTO
        works are copyrighted, not trademarked.
        The 1st in commerce 'rule' has been ignored for decades.
        If you do not register, you cannot sue. (unless you find a lawyer that graduated the bottom 5th of his class. Lol.)
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by DogScout View Post

          The 1st in commerce 'rule' has been ignored for decades.
          If it is ignored, it isn't for decades because I got a trademark that I wanted based on "First Use In Commerce". Had to prove it, but the Trademark office gave it to me in the end and that was less than 10 years ago.

          Here's what you need ...

          http://www.uspto.gov/teas/e-TEAS/index.html

          You can start the process online and then there's no dispute that you have rights to the trademark.

          Establishing Trademark Rights
          Trademark rights arise from either (1) actual use of the mark, or (2) the filing of a proper application to register a mark stating that the applicant has bona fide intention to use the mark in commerce regulated by the U.S. Congress. Federal registration is not required to establish rights in a mark, nor is it required to begin use of a mark. However, federal registration can secure rights beyond the common law rights acquired by merely using the mark. For example, the owner of a federal registration is presumed to be the owner of the mark for the goods and services specified in the registration, and to be entitled to use the mark nationwide.
          Soruce: http://www.leadingedgefilings.com/v/...rk/basics.html
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          • Profile picture of the author Ilya Feynberg
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            If it is ignored, it isn't for decades because I got a trademark that I wanted based on "First Use In Commerce". Had to prove it, but the Trademark office gave it to me in the end and that was less than 10 years ago.

            Here's what you need ...

            Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) Home Page

            You can start the process online and then there's no dispute that you have rights to the trademark.



            Soruce: Basic Trademark Facts & Information - Register a Trademark Application Instantly
            Keep in mind that "intended use or a TM" is not enough. You have to file before anyone else, you have to file for the right classes (or it's pointless), and then you have the right documentation. Now you can still TM terms that are already TM'ed but it has to be completely different from any other already registered marks to avoid consumer confusion. Different classes, different business, different products etc...Meaning many companies can hold the same brand name as a registered mark...but they all have to be completely irrelevant to each others businesses. If the mark you want has already been filed for and registered and can get tricky here.

            Careful with what you do try and get him/her booted off. You don't have any right right now to tell them to piss off or stop competing with you. Unless there is out right blatant copyrighting at foot, you don't have options. It's unlikely that they know this or will go this far...but interfere with the business activities just enough and they have the full right to come out legally. It sucks I know, but you have to swallow it and out compete him, there isn't much else that you can do.

            A few more notes:

            Registering a mark isn't just a couple hundred dollars. It's not all that bad either, but more fee's come into play. Register for more than one class for example you pay fee's per each class. Need a lawyer or go through a service like legalzoom? More fee's. It's still very reasonable and is a must for any serious business or branding.

            Time. It's NOT a fast process. Most business's will tell you that filing for a mark is like giving birth. If you get yours accepted and officially registered with certificate in hand within 3 months, consider yourself part of a lucky few. It's 7-9 months on average and you might have to restructure the mark many times depending on their acceptance. It's the government after all...competence isn't one of their high points.

            You really don't want to personally own your mark. That is, you don't want to be liable personally for anything that your mark might bring about. Talk to a lawyer and file for your proper entity. You want your entity to own the mark not you.

            You can't just put a "TM" next to the word, brand etc your trying to mark unless you have filed for the mark. You can technically yes, but when things into the court room...sh*t changes and isn't that black and white.

            I've been through 3 TM battles in the past few years, and my attorney and I going through filing for a group of registered marks right now. I'm not a lawyer myself, and don't take my advice as such...but I have a little experience here.

            *Not legal advice, I'm not liable for anything that you bring upon yourself.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ilya Feynberg
        Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

        This is not true at all. Your works are trademarked upon creation. The very first thing that you need to do is at the (TM) symbol to your brand name and logo. Do that right now.

        The next thing that you need to do is register your trademark with Trademark Office. You can get this done by a lawyer or do it yourself. It will cost a few hundred dollars.

        You also need to send a cease and desist letter to the person that is infringing on your trademark. Be stern, but gentile. This guy may actually be selling a heck of a lot more than you and something could be worked out. You may want to ask a lawyer to write the letter for you. You could probably get one to do it for $50 or $100.

        My advice is based on the understanding that you have been using the brand name longer than the guy you are talking about.

        PLEASE stop giving out advice regarding this issue. This is far beyond "inaccurate & false" it's not even...wait actually it is a bit funny.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bellthorpe
    I also could tell him to change one of the words in his brand name to a synonym or I will spend 24 hours posting and ruining his reputation on SCAM sites and forums etc. so that when people check his name out and web site they would see so much bad they would get turned off. I know how to make this threat so I am invisible and can not be traced. In fact, I could do it through pen name people posing as my friends who contact him and make it seem that they are fighting on my behalf without my permission. YOU HAVE TO BE CREATIVE WHEN YOU ARE A WARRIOR AND FIGHTING AGAINST THE ENEMY.
    Too childish for words.

    He's just done what people the Internet over do. Looking for an edge. He's quite free to register any domain name he wishes. In other threads here, people are talking about doing the same thing. "mybrightidea.com is taken, but what if I register mybrightidea.info?"

    If he actually does plagiarise your content, then take action. Meanwhile, ensure that you have an edge on him, with better more frequently updated content, and more people linking to it.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Bellthorpe View Post

      Too childish for words.

      He's just done what people the Internet over do. Looking for an edge. He's quite free to register any domain name he wishes. In other threads here, people are talking about doing the same thing. "mybrightidea.com is taken, but what if I register mybrightidea.info?"

      If he actually does plagiarise your content, then take action. Meanwhile, ensure that you have an edge on him, with better more frequently updated content, and more people linking to it.
      Complete and utter rubbish. Trademark can be established by "first use in commerce" and I assume you used it first and that can be proven by domain age.

      You can go register your trademark and that will give you even more leverage. I did one myself without a lawyer and it cost me $200 in filing fees.

      Other ways to prove trademark and use in commerce (and I used these) are to create stationery and business cards with your brand on them.
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      • Profile picture of the author atvking
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        Complete and utter rubbish. Trademark can be established by "first use in commerce" and I assume you used it first and that can be proven by domain age.

        You can go register your trademark and that will give you even more leverage. I did one myself without a lawyer and it cost me $200 in filing fees.

        Other ways to prove trademark and use in commerce (and I used these) are to create stationery and business cards with your brand on them.


        just to add you can go to DHL or UPS and mail yourself any pertinent documents and source codes and whatever and when you get the envelope dont open it keep it sealed (they have special tamper proof envelopes for documents) and stamped...its a sort of time capsule with proof of exactly when you started what...does not cost much and is very effective
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        • Profile picture of the author PeterLarson
          Now that I have had some time to think about it I believe the person who did this could have found out about the site through this forum. The site URL was not posted under this username of PeterLarson

          SO IF YOU HAVE A UNIQUE SERVICE AS I HAD WHICH THE INTERNET MARKETING WORLD HAS NOT FOUND OUT ABOUT THEN DO NOT POST IT ON THIS FORUM AS A THIEF HIGHLY TRAINED IN INTERNET MARKETING COULD GET IT AND RUN WITH IT. THIS IS MY WARNING.

          Even if I get the brand name @@@@ @@@@ he still has the domain name which is similar to mine and this is not illegal as far as I know and he can take my brand name off but the brand name would still work well in sentences to describe what he is doing and he could still use those words carefully in his text to drive traffic to his site without violating any brand name laws in my opinion.

          So maybe getting the trademark is not that important in regard to keeping traffic off his site that should go to mine ?
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          • Profile picture of the author Ilya Feynberg
            Originally Posted by PeterLarson View Post

            Now that I have had some time to think about it I believe the person who did this could have found out about the site through this forum. The site URL was not posted under this username of PeterLarson

            SO IF YOU HAVE A UNIQUE SERVICE AS I HAD WHICH THE INTERNET MARKETING WORLD HAS NOT FOUND OUT ABOUT THEN DO NOT POST IT ON THIS FORUM AS A THIEF HIGHLY TRAINED IN INTERNET MARKETING COULD GET IT AND RUN WITH IT. THIS IS MY WARNING.

            Even if I get the brand name @@@@ @@@@ he still has the domain name which is similar to mine and this is not illegal as far as I know and he can take my brand name off but the brand name would still work well in sentences to describe what he is doing and he could still use those words carefully in his text to drive traffic to his site without violating any brand name laws in my opinion.

            So maybe getting the trademark is not that important in regard to keeping traffic off his site that should go to mine ?
            Peter,

            You're angry now, and that's understandable I've been there too. But he's really not a thief. He's not awfully creative, and isn't much of any "industry leader", but if he's not directly ripping off your content but just cashing in on an opportunity...he's not doing anything wrong. As far as I can tell from your posts.

            The thing is, neither you nor him took the right precautions to protect your brand names, products etc. I don't know anything about your business or name etc...but it might not even be worth going about that route.

            Live and learn.

            The big boys don't hide from the world, they stand out among them all.
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            • Profile picture of the author espresso
              There isnt alot you can do about this Id say
              You register the name in the US but whats to stop him setting up a site in the EU
              You register the name in the EU whats to stop him registering his site in Russia
              And what exactly do you plan to do about it....
              Sue him
              if he happens to a 16 year old in India i dont fancy your chances
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  • Profile picture of the author badboy_Nick
    Hey

    If you have registered your domain name as an official trademark, the person who has registered the domain with the NOW in front will engage in copyright infringement.

    If you havent trademarked it you will have to speak to your lawyer, but unless you have some kind of intellectual property registered/created theres not a hell of a lot you can do here.

    Any questions just let me know

    Nick
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  • Profile picture of the author Karan Goel
    You have only 2 choices.

    1. If it's a registered business name, let your lawyer know this and he'll handle.

    2. If it's not registered with local law, do it NOW. And then, you could go to 1.

    Karan
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    1. File a trademark registration. Note - this is not necessarily required, but it always helps.

    2. Send a cease and desist letter.

    3. If that is not sufficient, file a UDRP domain name dispute. It is relatively quick and inexpensive.

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Your works are trademarked upon creation.
      I think you are referring to "copyright" - not the same thing as trademark.

      U.S. Copyright Office - What Does Copyright Protect? (FAQ)

      Choosing and protecting your brand | OUT-LAW.COM by Pinsent Masons LLP

      You will find domain names are not protected under copyright.

      If you want a definitive answer on this - you don't need forum opinions, you need to contact an attorney. If you have done nothing to protect the brand you chose, you may not have any protection under the law but only an attorney can properly advise you.


      I also could tell him to change one of the words in his brand name to a synonym or I will spend 24 hours posting and ruining his reputation on SCAM sites and forums etc. so that when people check his name out and web site they would see so much bad they would get turned off. I know how to make this threat so I am invisible and can not be traced. In fact, I could do it through pen name people posing as my friends who contact him and make it seem that they are fighting on my behalf without my permission. YOU HAVE TO BE CREATIVE WHEN YOU ARE A WARRIOR AND FIGHTING AGAINST THE ENEMY.
      That's not creative - just childish and petty. What often happens is the "bad" comes back on you...not on the competition.

      EDIT: ignore all advice (including mine) except that from Kindsvater. He knows what he's talking about.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      In case anyone didn't notice--and it looks as though quite a few did not notice--an actual attorney replied to this thread. Those of you who wish to ignore an attorney's advice, please go here.

      For those that missed it the first time, I will quote it below.

      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      1. File a trademark registration. Note - this is not necessarily required, but it always helps.

      2. Send a cease and desist letter.

      3. If that is not sufficient, file a UDRP domain name dispute. It is relatively quick and inexpensive.
      Emphasis added so it will stand out in the thread because it is advice from an actual attorney.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ilya Feynberg
        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        In case anyone didn't notice--and it looks as though quite a few did not notice--an actual attorney replied to this thread. Those of you who wish to ignore an attorney's advice, please go here.

        For those that missed it the first time, I will quote it below.



        Emphasis added so it will stand out in the thread because it is advice from an actual attorney.
        And I've come very close to being sued before thanks to "an actual attorney's advice". I have 3 lawyers (all for different areas) that take care of all the business issues I need.

        Not all lawyers are created equal. I don't know kindsvatar personally and am not saying anything bad or positive in regards to him.

        Interesting to see him giving out such free and clear legal advice without so much as a care about his own liability.

        On his advice...well shoot...I'm gonna go cease and desist the crap out of every like domain name, and every competitor.
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  • Profile picture of the author xohaibx
    I understand that you don't wanna get into any kind of legal tussle here, but I would really advise that you seek assistance of your lawyer if it's hurting your business. One can feel really helpless in such a situation, which is why you shouldn't take long to address the problem and take care of it. The earlier, the better.
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  • Profile picture of the author LB
    This thread is further proof why you don't get legal advice here.

    I also could tell him to change one of the words in his brand name to a synonym or I will spend 24 hours posting and ruining his reputation on SCAM sites and forums etc. so that when people check his name out and web site they would see so much bad they would get turned off
    Way to incriminate yourself...
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  • Profile picture of the author mhobbs25
    Dude, Its not your brand name unless you Trademark it. Its up for grabs.

    So theres nothing you can do except deal with it. If you want a name protected you need to go through the action to get it done. He has every right to use the name and who knows he could go get it trademarked and you would be the one considered stealing. Kinda crazy huh...

    If its that important to you then get it trademarked and put out way more content then him and you will dominate the search term.
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