IS my Domain name a brand?

28 replies
Hey warrior's

I am now thinking of putting all my effort in one site site, but there is one thing that is harassing me, my domain name is pretty generic. So I want to know if there is a big company with the same name, can they sue me and make me shut down my domain?
#brand #domain
  • Profile picture of the author sherrieb
    Without knowing the domain name it's hard to say. If its something like microsoft.net or cocacola.info, yeah, you may have some problems. If its something that just happens to also be the name of another business, not as big of potential to sue. Something for which you may need to consult an attorney.
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  • Profile picture of the author ankitsharma
    Yes , there is a strong probability that , other company sue your domain. As you cannot put any other brand's name as your domain name, you might end up in legal trouble.
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  • Profile picture of the author Anoopchawla
    Just to let you people know so that you can judge it correctly.

    The domain name is: India-artsdotcom
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  • Profile picture of the author sherrieb
    You shouldn't have a problem. Even if India Arts was a major company in India, unless you were ripping them off directly, meaning trying to steal their business, you shouldn't be at risk. India and arts are very common and public words. No brand infringement.
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  • Profile picture of the author Anoopchawla
    BTW, is there a way to check that is there any company with that particular name?
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  • Profile picture of the author russells
    Each Country has different laws, but I believe that they can only shut you down if they have a registered trademark and the Country that it's registered in apply's to the laws in your Country (if different).

    ~Russ
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  • Profile picture of the author JustinDupre
    I don't think you would have any problem using that domain name. Good luck working on it and keep update to us on work process.
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  • Profile picture of the author Always-A-Warrior
    I wouldn't worry about it unless you're using it against them.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    indiaarts dot com has been in business with that name since 1960. My guess is that they may not like you using their business name.

    In addition, there is a trademark on the name

    (REGISTRANT) India Arts, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY CALIFORNIA 2nd Floor 20 Heron Street San Francisco CALIFORNIA 941034511
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    • Profile picture of the author Anoopchawla
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      indiaarts dot com has been in business with that name since 1960. My guess is that they may not like you using their business name.

      In addition, there is a trademark on the name

      (REGISTRANT) India Arts, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY CALIFORNIA 2nd Floor 20 Heron Street San Francisco CALIFORNIA 941034511
      Yaa... I dont want to invest my time in something that can be shut down someday. So if I want to buy another domain. Is there a way to make sure that there is no other company with the same name.

      Also what if I buy a domain that currently has no trademark company but after sometime it comes into existence.
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Anoopchawla View Post

        Yaa... I dont want to invest my time in something that can be shut down someday. So if I want to buy another domain. Is there a way to make sure that there is no other company with the same name.

        Also what if I buy a domain that currently has no trademark company but after sometime it comes into existence.
        You can query TESS here to find trademarks:
        Trademark Search - TESS

        That doesn't cover all trademarks, but I'm sure other countries probably have something similar.

        A federal registration of your trademark gives you quite a bit of protection, but it isn't necessary. First use in commerce also has trademark rights, but of course, when challenged, it's probably going to cost you attorney's fees.

        LawTroves - Law Resources on the Internet
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      • Profile picture of the author davezan
        Originally Posted by Anoopchawla View Post

        Is there a way to make sure that there is no other company with the same name.

        Also what if I buy a domain that currently has no trademark company but after sometime it comes into existence.
        Only an exhaustive search in Google, uspto.gov, and whatever relevant search
        engines abound can even remotely tell you such. And they only tell you those
        they're able to find online, not those who haven't possibly established an online
        presence.

        From the few decisions I've seen involving trademarks formed after its namesake
        domain is registered, problems can occur if you do something that "acknowledge"
        its trademark. Examples can be, but not limited to, putting content related to its
        trademark, trying to sell the domain to its trademark holder after recognizing it
        exists, etc.

        OTOH, you can possibly use the domain if your intended use does not possibly
        compete or confuse yours with others. I emphasize possibly because it depends
        on a variety of factors, though it's also possible users might nonetheless confuse
        your domain with a possibly "famous" trademark holder or so.

        All in all, I agree with the suggestion to seek a lawyer, solicitor, etc. if you want
        to be sure about this. Otherwise, I'm sure there's something else out there you
        can explore.

        Good luck.
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        David

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      • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
        Originally Posted by Anoopchawla View Post

        Also what if I buy a domain that currently has no trademark company but after sometime it comes into existence.
        Then you're fine, unless you then change your website to make use of their trademark.

        Example:

        Year 1: You register apple.com to sell red delicious apples from your farm.

        Year 2: A company called Apple Computer is incorporated and gets a trademark on the word 'apple'.

        You are not infringing that trademark and will not lose your domain.

        Year 3: You decide it is more profitable to sell computers from your website, or to advertise computers and make money from Adsense. Naturally, the ads being shown are for Apple Computer.

        Now you can lose your domain.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonmorgan
    ask a lawyer.

    btw... I think your fine with india-arts.

    more than once company can have the same name.

    more than one company can trademark the same name.

    your not dealing with a unique name or word.

    Just because somebody started a company in SF, CA, USA in 1960 called indiaarts doesn't mean they have exclusive use of that name and nobody else in the known universe can ever use it.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by jasonmorgan View Post

      ask a lawyer.

      btw... I think your fine with india-arts.

      more than once company can have the same name.

      more than one company can trademark the same name.

      your not dealing with a unique name or word.

      Just because somebody started a company in SF, CA, USA in 1960 called indiaarts doesn't mean they have exclusive use of that name and nobody else in the known universe can ever use it.
      More than one company can have the same name if they are not in the same category. Not very likely it would get approved as a trademark in the same category as the original trademark holder.

      btw... I think you're fine using this trademark name is not what I would consider good legal advice. Only a lawyer can tell you with any certainty and anything else could get you in hot water that you would probably prefer to avoid.

      In order to avoid legal fees, I avoid trademarks. I'd rather not have the legal hassles and legal fees.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonmorgan
    btw... I think you're fine using this trademark name is not what I would consider good legal advice. Only a lawyer can tell you with any certainty and anything else could get you in hot water that you would probably prefer to avoid.
    Might want to take a second look at the first line of my post... I think is says something along the lines of Ask A Lawyer

    The India Arts company in CA, this is their trademark... Color is not claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of the words "India Arts" in a stylized text with a basket weave pattern within a circle.

    It's not for the name alone but also for it's visual representation.

    Now, let's stop slingin' the legal jargon like any of us really know what we are talking about.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by jasonmorgan View Post

      Might want to take a second look at the first line of my post... I think is says something along the lines of Ask A Lawyer

      The India Arts company in CA, this is their trademark... Color is not claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of the words "India Arts" in a stylized text with a basket weave pattern within a circle.

      It's not for the name alone but also for it's visual representation.

      Now, let's stop slingin' the legal jargon like any of us really know what we are talking about.
      The trademark is for the stylized mark and the words ... not just the stylized mark.

      Wikipedia
      A trademark is typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements.
      There is also a range of non-conventional trademarks comprising marks which do not fall into these standard categories, such as those based on color, smell, or sound.

      The owner of a registered trademark may commence legal proceedings for trademark infringement to prevent unauthorized use of that trademark. However, registration is not required. The owner of a common law trademark may also file suit, but an unregistered mark may be protectable only within the geographical area within which it has been used or in geographical areas into which it may be reasonably expected to expand.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        A domain-name is a brand if you build it up into one.

        It isn't a trademark unless you register it as one.

        "Branding" is a social/commercial phenomenon; "trademarking" is a legal procedure conferring both rights and obligations.
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        • Profile picture of the author davezan
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          It isn't a trademark unless you register it as one.
          Careful there, don't forget common law trademarks. If your dog is not licensed
          like in Philadelphia, it's still a dog after all.

          For me, OP, you're understandably yet needlessly worrying. Why fret?
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          David

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  • Profile picture of the author Anoopchawla
    This is getting more and more confusing. I would have one more domain in mind, that is on my mother's name but not sure what to do.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Anoopchawla View Post

      This is getting more and more confusing. I would have one more domain in mind, that is on my mother's name but not sure what to do.
      A name should be a lot safer to use. How many people with your mother's name might trademark that name for the same category as you intend to use it? Do a trademark search in TESS to see if anyone is using it.

      Here's some info on trademarked names.
      Should You Trademark Your Name? | LegalZoom

      How to Trademark a Name

      Anyone whose name also identifies a business or profession should consider trademarking their actual name. If you are considering establishing a trademark for your name, you should first perform a trademark search with LegalZoom or by going to the US Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) website at United States Patent and Trademark Office, to determine if it is claimed as a mark by someone else. The USPTO reviews trademark applications and determines whether an applicant meets the requirements for federal registration.

      Even if you do not register your name you can still use a mark you have adopted to identify your goods and/or services. Anytime you claim rights to a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) symbol, regardless of whether you filed an application with the USPTO. But registering your mark will offer you added protection under trademark law, including giving you the ability to bring action in court concerning the mark and obtaining registration in foreign countries. The mark ยจ can only be used after the mark is actually registered with the USPTO.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tim Franklin
      Originally Posted by Anoopchawla View Post

      This is getting more and more confusing. I would have one more domain in mind, that is on my mother's name but not sure what to do.
      Getting the right domain name is often less about the name and more about what the name means, used to be years ago, that a catchy name was the only way you could get people to remember your website.

      These days, there is google, as long as they get close they can find you, but what is a good domain name, well that can only be answered by you,

      Ask yourself what do you want to do?

      Sell a product?
      Sell someone elses product?
      sell a friends product?
      Sell a local market product?

      What are the most common things about what you want to do?

      If a customer wanted to find your website because they wanted to buy from you, what do you think they would search for?

      More importantly what search engine would they use to search for you?

      Do you have regional customers?
      National Customers?
      International customers.

      Will you be advertising locally?
      Advertising online?
      Advertising through a network?

      These answers will guide you to a name that might be better than the one you have now, it is really all about what you want to do.

      The product you want to sell or the service you want to advertise.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonmorgan
    The trademark is for the stylized mark and the words ... not just the stylized mark.
    Are you just trying to get in the last word?

    It's not for the name alone but also for it's visual representation.

    Anoopchawla,

    Do yourself a favor and ignore the retard advice in this thread and ask a lawyer or somebody who deals with trademarks.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by jasonmorgan View Post

      Are you just trying to get in the last word?

      It's not for the name alone but also for it's visual representation.

      Anoopchawla,

      Do yourself a favor and ignore the retard advice in this thread and ask a lawyer or somebody who deals with trademarks.
      I don't have a problem with reading comprehension and I read on numerous sites exactly what a trademark comprises. In all cases, it said
      words, drawing, or combination of those.

      Ask a lawyer if you have a reading comprehension problem. I provided the sources. A real lawyer has just entered the building.

      In addition, I have had a trademark. I applied for it myself and fought none other than Adobe for it, and won the trademark.

      It was the words, plus the stylized mark that was trademarked. Any personal experience you have in trademarks, or you just blowing smoke out of your posterior?

      What is a trademark?

      A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name.
      http://www.uspto.gov/faq/trademarks.jsp#DefineTrademark
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Powers
    Maybe there is not any problem if you use such domain name, but I don't think it's a good idea, because if they mind, you domain would be shut down.
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