Domain names containing trademarks?

by hush73
23 replies
Hi, I was looking for some advice concerning part of a trademark being used in a domain name.

Say I made a site affiliating xbox products with amazon, would it be okay to include '360' in the domain name? Such as (but not) all360.co...

The site will be promoting only xbox goods, with the only affiliate being used is amazon.

I have found quite a lot of sites that do this, sometimes including the whole xbox 360. But when I tried to add on my domain with a hosting company they replied I was in violation of copyright/trademark.

I have tried another hosting company and they let me add the domain on, but obviously I don't want to put the site up if I will get a letter from microsofts lawyers telling me to take it down.

Any advice really appreciated right now, thanks
#domain #names #trademarks
  • Profile picture of the author ladida
    I wouldn't do it...
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  • Profile picture of the author trishworks4u
    the "360", yes. "xbox", no don't go there. I get "cease and desist" letters all the time - last week from Porsche

    Some of the sites that you see "up" with xbox in the domain name are going to be short-term. ie- those guys know that they're in it to make a quick buck before the letter comes in and then they'll have to take it down.

    I've only done this once or twice on Christmas toy type things that are short term anyway. Anything else was pretty much unintentional but I still get the letters with the # of sites that I have. They'll go so far as to demand that you remove "Categories" and Posts with trademarked names.
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  • Profile picture of the author ladida
    I agree. I think "360" is gray area, simply because it applies to a number of things. But legally, I'm not sure how gray the area is. Even if it could be okay depending on use you'd be defining use as relating to Microsoft products, i.e. xbox and such, thereby potentially infringing on their trademark... perhaps.

    I'm just throwing out possibilities since I don't know if it's even protected under any trademark.

    If the answer to this question determines your course of action then it's probably best to seek legal advice. If you don't mind throwing something against the wall to see if it sticks, then sure - take a chance.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I have found quite a lot of sites that do this, sometimes including the whole xbox 360. But when I tried to add on my domain with a hosting company they replied I was in violation of copyright/trademark.

      I have tried another hosting company and they let me add the domain on, but obviously I don't want to put the site up if I will get a letter from microsofts lawyers telling me to take it down.
      You HAD advice - good advice - from the first hosting company - and your answer was to try another host. Why do you think there is such a thing as "trademark registration"? Could it be to protect the name of the product from being used by others?

      It doesn't matter what other sites do as that is no protection. If you don't mind turning over domains frequently or have plenty of money to defend yourself in court - go ahead.

      kay
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      • Profile picture of the author hush73
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        You HAD advice - good advice - from the first hosting company - and your answer was to try another host. Why do you think there is such a thing as "trademark registration"? Could it be to protect the name of the product from being used by others?

        It doesn't matter what other sites do as that is no protection. If you don't mind turning over domains frequently or have plenty of money to defend yourself in court - go ahead.

        kay
        Err, need to be quite so rude? I didn't have advice from the first hosting company, actually they were quite rude, they said this after trying to sort out a different problem, ie asking me for my driving license, which I refuse to give to hosting sites.

        I didn't understand last night, which is why this morning I have been reading up, the reason for this thread if that makes any sense to you. My site is not up, all I was doing was seeing if I could add on the domain to a different hosting company from the one I bought the domain from. The ONLY reason I bought a domain with part of a trademark is because I was told by someone this was cool to do, and until I found out it may not be I had no idea.


        To everyone else, thanks for the help About the amazon affiliates and account names, I did already make another ID with my account, called *something to do with xbox* which worked fine, I didn't realise that about amazon either!

        Thanks again, anyone want to buy a few domains with anything 360/xbox in it?



        edit: cheers for the link trishworks4u
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        • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
          Why not get a domain name with games or games systems or some other related but generic keyword in the domain?

          Then, target multiple keywords, including those generic keywords.

          Then, when the Xbox isn't the hot thing anymore and when the newest, hottest game system is XYZ GameBox System or whatever, you already have PageRank and backlinks for the generic terms and you have a headstart trying to rank for the more specific terms.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeborahDera
    Originally Posted by hush73 View Post

    Hi, I was looking for some advice concerning part of a trademark being used in a domain name.

    Say I made a site affiliating xbox products with amazon, would it be okay to include '360' in the domain name? Such as (but not) all360.co...

    The site will be promoting only xbox goods, with the only affiliate being used is amazon.

    I have found quite a lot of sites that do this, sometimes including the whole xbox 360. But when I tried to add on my domain with a hosting company they replied I was in violation of copyright/trademark.

    I have tried another hosting company and they let me add the domain on, but obviously I don't want to put the site up if I will get a letter from microsofts lawyers telling me to take it down.

    Any advice really appreciated right now, thanks
    I didn't read through all the replies so I apologize if this is a duplicate.

    Amazon will not allow you to create an affiliate account using a domain name that contains trademarked terms. I tried to do it once with a video camera and it was declined. Your best bet is to make your domain name a bit broader and then use the keywords for the product in all of your tags, SEO, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author trishworks4u
    Best bet is to just check quickly if you're not sure. I keep this link on my bookmarks toolbar:

    Trademarks

    If you're going to be selling products as an affiliate through Amazon or EPN, you'll eventually get notices regardless. 99.9% of the time it's easier just to comply than to argue.

    I received one a few weeks ago from a law firm in Nevada demanding that I stop using the terms EMERGENCY ESSENTIALS on one of my sites as it was Trademarked by their client.

    How ridiculous is that? :rolleyes: First of all, it's a common term. Secondly, I was probably selling THEIR product. Third, it wasn't in the domain - just post titles. I checked the Trademark and, sure enough, they own it. I took them down - but never responded to their letter.

    I'm going to Trademark something completely innocuous like "YOU'RE STUPID" and then sue everyone that uses it in print.
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    • Profile picture of the author anwar001
      Originally Posted by trishworks4u View Post

      Best bet is to just check quickly if you're not sure. I keep this link on my bookmarks toolbar:

      Trademarks

      If you're going to be selling products as an affiliate through Amazon or EPN, you'll eventually get notices regardless. 99.9% of the time it's easier just to comply than to argue.

      I received one a few weeks ago from a law firm in Nevada demanding that I stop using the terms EMERGENCY ESSENTIALS on one of my sites as it was Trademarked by their client.

      How ridiculous is that? :rolleyes: First of all, it's a common term. Secondly, I was probably selling THEIR product. Third, it wasn't in the domain - just post titles. I checked the Trademark and, sure enough, they own it. I took them down - but never responded to their letter.

      I'm going to Trademark something completely innocuous like "YOU'RE STUPID" and then sue everyone that uses it in print.
      Thanks for the trademarks link.

      I have a question. I have one site - gracoinfantcarseat

      Is that a trademarked term because Graco is name of a brand?
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      • Profile picture of the author Matt Ward
        Originally Posted by anwar001 View Post

        Thanks for the trademarks link.

        I have a question. I have one site - gracoinfantcarseat

        Is that a trademarked term because Graco is name of a brand?
        Yeah, it is.
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      • Profile picture of the author KeithJ
        Don't Do it... that's all I'll say... At the best it will just get yanked under ICANN rules once the trademark holder complains. At worst you will get a cease and desist letter and a claim against you to try to collect for lawyer fees.. I know I had this done to me.

        I once had a domain webexseminar.com at the time the site was a content site talking about the webex platform (kind of like go to meeting live webcast platoform) I got a cease and deist letter from Webex which I think was owned by Cisco at the time... I ignored it and laughed.. I then got the URL yanked under ICANN rules and then got a letter of an impending law suit against me for attorney fees that Webex had to pay for for the cease and desist and appealing to ICANN.

        Luckily nothing ever came of the claim against me for lawyer fees but it did ruin my day when I got that letter...

        I have heard horror stories of bigger name cases...

        Just don't do it that is my advice.

        Keith
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  • Profile picture of the author BlondieWrites
    If you buy a domain name that contains a trademarked word (like xbox), you are only asking for trouble. The trademark holder can do anything from simply contacting you to delete the name to suing you.

    The 360 part would be fine most likely, it's just a number. But trying to buy the word 'xbox' would be infringing on their trademark and copyright.

    Understandably, some people don't know they can't buy a domain name that contains a trademarked word or words. But you say you were told when you tried to buy from one company, so look for a name that's legal to buy.


    Cindy
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    • Profile picture of the author hush73
      Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

      Why not get a domain name with games or games systems or some other related but generic keyword in the domain?

      Then, target multiple keywords, including those generic keywords.

      Then, when the Xbox isn't the hot thing anymore and when the newest, hottest game system is XYZ GameBox System or whatever, you already have PageRank and backlinks for the generic terms and you have a headstart trying to rank for the more specific terms.

      This is exactly what I have been thinking this afternoon, although I didn't follow through as cleverly as you and realise it could open it up to different consoles in the future! Thanks.

      Originally Posted by BlondieWrites View Post

      If you buy a domain name that contains a trademarked word (like xbox), you are only asking for trouble. The trademark holder can do anything from simply contacting you to delete the name to suing you.

      The 360 part would be fine most likely, it's just a number. But trying to buy the word 'xbox' would be infringing on their trademark and copyright.

      Understandably, some people don't know they can't buy a domain name that contains a trademarked word or words. But you say you were told when you tried to buy from one company, so look for a name that's legal to buy.


      Cindy
      I do have one domain with 360 in it, example being the360.co... Do you think that would be okay to use? I bought that after I realised I couldn't use the other 2 thinking 'well it's only numbers, how can that be a problem'. Does it automatically make it a problem if the site is about xbox 360 products? I am not sure whether to go for that or to buy another one, money is tight at the moment and I foolishly wasted some on 3 domains.
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      • Profile picture of the author Rex.T
        I do have one domain with 360 in it, example being the360.co... Do you think that would be okay to use? I bought that after I realised I couldn't use the other 2 thinking 'well it's only numbers, how can that be a problem'. Does it automatically make it a problem if the site is about xbox 360 products? I am not sure whether to go for that or to buy another one, money is tight at the moment and I foolishly wasted some on 3 domains.
        Keep in mind that whatever advise you get here is just that, advise. Cos if **** happens and you get a C&D, you have 2 options, give up your domain, or challenge their claim by using a lawyer. Not saying 360 is trademarked or not, just letting you know the risks involved.
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      • Profile picture of the author trishworks4u
        Originally Posted by hush73 View Post

        I do have one domain with 360 in it, example being the360.co... Do you think that would be okay to use? I bought that after I realised I couldn't use the other 2 thinking 'well it's only numbers, how can that be a problem'. Does it automatically make it a problem if the site is about xbox 360 products? I am not sure whether to go for that or to buy another one, money is tight at the moment and I foolishly wasted some on 3 domains.
        I think the 360 is fine. Look it up if you're worried about it. Or you could get another domain and go more broad. OR, you could just go more broad with the 360 domain. I would - you can do anything with good SEO.

        On another note -
        You can still use those other 2 for other things later that don't require "publishing" and getting you in hot water - say you purchase some IM script that needs to be hosted on a domain. I have a bunch of those - not sure what half of them are anymore. Or even just for testing things. Just be sure to put up a robots.txt so that they don't get indexed.
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        • Profile picture of the author Rex.T
          Originally Posted by trishworks4u View Post

          You can still use those other 2 for other things later that don't require "publishing" and getting you in hot water - say you purchase some IM script that needs to be hosted on a domain. I have a bunch of those - not sure what half of them are anymore. Or even just for testing things. Just be sure to put up a robots.txt so that they don't get indexed.
          Nice tip...never thought of that before!
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        • Profile picture of the author hush73
          I looked up 360 but it threw up a list of 8230 in searches, am I supposed to check through all of those? On the first page there wasn't just 360 owned.


          Yeah, you know what mattward, I'm begging to think you are right. I've already got another big site project going in it's early days, maybe I would be better off throwing all of my energy into that. Just thought I saw an opportunity.
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  • Profile picture of the author Always-A-Warrior
    just do a search for 360 and you'll find it open season. When picking a name we need to think out of the box so I'll pm you with my thoughts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Ward
    I really wanted to do the same thing, but I would be severely disheartened if I put a lot of work into building/ranking a site only to have a c&d letter come through. To me, it's not worth it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kudosman
    l put together a webinar series about email and used a very well known brand in the domain, got a warning letter from their lawyers. Pity cause it was very good SEO, so there are eyes or robots looking for it
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  • Profile picture of the author ru83n
    If you register a phrase as a domain name and after a couple of years the phrase becomes a registered trademark by other company,, what will be the case now?
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    • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
      Originally Posted by ru83n View Post

      If you register a phrase as a domain name and after a couple of years the phrase becomes a registered trademark by other company,, what will be the case now?
      I am not a lawyer - so take this is just a maybe.

      If you have been using the site, and can show that you have, then their application to register the trademark should fail, so long as you are operating in the same broad niche.

      If the site has just lain dormant then you would be unable to use it.
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  • Profile picture of the author aizaku
    don't do it, at the end of the day they can always try to sue you. Can you imagine making a nice profit off your trademarked domain and then one day that company decides to go after you. You're giving too much power to the trademark you're using. I highly recommend you find another way to get into the market that you want to get into.
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