Domain Names With Famous Brand Names In it

49 replies
Can I make a website with the name "Harry Potter" in it? and can I use that name in a domain? For example could I use the domain name "HarryPotterMagicSpells.com" if it was available? or is it illegal to use this kind of brand name? Is that copyright?
#brand #domain #domain brand #domain copyright #famous #names
  • Profile picture of the author MissLizzie
    Humm - I'm not sure that 'Harry Potter' is a brand in the same way that Nike and Pepsi are. For one thing, he doesn't produce products or try to sell his own goods! Instead, he's just a character from a book and there's a lot of merchandise based around him.

    Having said that, I know that JK Rowling's publishers have been very keen to keep the IP around the books pure. They've come down heavily on marketers in the past and personally, I wouldn't take the risk.
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    • Profile picture of the author IcedSEO-CEO
      Banned
      Originally Posted by MissLizzie View Post

      Humm - I'm not sure that 'Harry Potter' is a brand in the same way that Nike and Pepsi are. For one thing, he doesn't produce products or try to sell his own goods! Instead, he's just a character from a book and there's a lot of merchandise based around him.

      Having said that, I know that JK Rowling's publishers have been very keen to keep the IP around the books pure. They've come down heavily on marketers in the past and personally, I wouldn't take the risk.

      even me could take up PepsiDeals.com or WordpressViper.com if they were available. Just make sure your disclaimer is there to stir yourself clear of the company or brand name.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by IcedSEO-CEO View Post

        even me could take up PepsiDeals.com or WordpressViper.com if they were available. Just make sure your disclaimer is there to stir yourself clear of the company or brand name.
        The misinformation is breathtaking.

        It's not about "brand names". It's about TRADEMARKS and their prohibited/permitted usages in domain-names.

        For heaven's sake, check with a lawyer and stop misinforming people. :rolleyes:
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          Alexa -

          The info is always wrong when the subject comes because armchair lawyers want to interpret the law and offer advice.

          Simple answer is "don't" - because most who ask about it have not done any research on the topic. There are exceptions to rules - but those are for lawyers to decipher.

          If someone doesn't understand why a company would not want people jumping in to use brand names to make a few bucks off a company's well known name, they won't understand the exceptions.

          kay
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          • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
            Heaven help any newbie whose thinking of buying trademarked domains having read some of the advice I've seen here.

            IcedSEO-CEO - even me could take up PepsiDeals.com or WordpressViper.com if they were available. Just make sure your disclaimer is there to stir yourself clear of the company or brand name.
            You actually think, you can buy a domain with the word "Pepsi" in it and a disclaimer will protect you from them?

            It's no wonder lawyers get paid so much, there can't be enough of them around, with people actually believing stuff like this.
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            • Profile picture of the author Kay King
              You can believe the people who tell you what you want to hear - or those who tell you what need to know.:p
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              • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
                This thread should be marked 'dangerous' in a big yellow triangle. Some of the advice here is so dangerous. And as Kay said if you get sued for 50k...100k or more by a large company with a dedicated legal department saying someone I don't know or even know their real name on the warrior forum said it would be ok will be a great defence.

                Rich
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            • Profile picture of the author paulie888
              Originally Posted by Richard Van View Post

              Heaven help any newbie whose thinking of buying trademarked domains having read some of the advice I've seen here.

              You actually think, you can buy a domain with the word "Pepsi" in it and a disclaimer will protect you from them?

              It's no wonder lawyers get paid so much, there can't be enough of them around, with people actually believing stuff like this.
              It's frightening to see the amount of disinformation being spewed out in here and on other threads. I feel sorry for the newbies who must be feeling utterly bewildered about which course of action to take; please use common sense here, and consult with someone who is qualified to give legal advice on this before arriving at your own conclusions!
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              • Profile picture of the author Mike McAleer
                Originally Posted by paulie888 View Post

                It's frightening to see the amount of disinformation being spewed out in here and on other threads. I feel sorry for the newbies who must be feeling utterly bewildered about which course of action to take; please use common sense here, and consult with someone who is qualified to give legal advice on this before arriving at your own conclusions!
                Yes! It is better to worry about it beforehand than having to pay later!
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                • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
                  The best legal advice I've ever had

                  "If you have ANY doubts about the legality of something, DON'T DO IT!!"

                  The thing is, some people want to change reality. Even if they took the sensible advice here (i.e. ask a lawyer) they would still go from lawyer to lawyer until they found one who said, "There's a way we can do this legally".

                  Is your business plan so piss-poor that the only way to succeed is to have a domain name containing a trademarked name?


                  Martin
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                • Profile picture of the author paulie888
                  Originally Posted by Mike McAleer View Post

                  Yes! It is better to worry about it beforehand than having to pay later!
                  So true, Mike - it's not just the cost of a domain that you've to be worried about, what you need to be more concerned about is the investment of time and effort you put into building a viable site...which could then be taken down at any time due to the trademark issues mentioned here.
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        • Profile picture of the author IcedSEO-CEO
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          The misinformation is breathtaking.

          It's not about "brand names". It's about TRADEMARKS and their prohibited/permitted usages in domain-names.

          For heaven's sake, check with a lawyer and stop misinforming people. :rolleyes:
          that could have gone better
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  • Profile picture of the author betandforget
    Me neither, go for something else. Its not worth putting work into a site and then having to take it down.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nigel Greaves
    Here's what it says on JK Rowling's web site:

    "Harry Potter characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved."

    If you feel you have pockets deep enough to take on Warner Bros. then go for it. If not I'd suggest a different domain might be a better solution :-)

    Nigel
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  • Profile picture of the author Chri5123
    Yes, you have to be careful.

    This might help you >> U.S. Copyright Office - Search Copyright Records

    Also if you DO register a copyrighted domain name and get caught the worst that has ever happened to me is a cease and desist letter.

    Not worth the risk.

    Best to check beforehand.

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author daddykool
    Steer well clear of any brand, TM, patent, blue chip, etc etc DN's, really not worth the hassle or after reg crap that comes with them!

    Some fan / discussion / chat / owned IP prior sites on DN's are ol, but even those get shut in time :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author RedWaterDub
      Okay thanks you guys, that's my question answered. Shame coz there are some real gold domains amongst the harry potter theme.
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      • Profile picture of the author Gayla
        Wiley Publishing ripped a domain right out from under me a few years back because I used domainname-for-dummies.

        Even with the disclaimer and the content OBVIOUSLY not being associated with them, it didn't matter.

        Apparently they own anything and everything related to "for dummies" hyphenated, misspelled or not.

        I've tried to stay clear of anything to do with brands ever since.
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        • Profile picture of the author ultradeal
          Banned
          [DELETED]
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          • Profile picture of the author davezan
            Somewhat a funny question, RedWaterDub, considering the domain in your sig
            file does have a brand name/trademark as well as of this post.
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            David

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          • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
            Banned
            Originally Posted by ultradeal View Post

            Of course "Harry Potter" is a brand name, but how about Harrypotter or Magicharrypotter, these companies have a big mouth but they can't own everything.
            Ultradeal, the observations you're making above, and throughout your post, are completely wrong.

            It's not about things being "brand names" at all.

            It's about whether they're trademarked.

            The owners of the Harry Potter trademark are enthusiastic litigators. There have been many cases already - worldwide.

            Originally Posted by ultradeal View Post

            Hmmm maybe I should stop drinking beer now....
            I don't know about that, but I think it might be a service to other forum members if you didn't give legal advice on subjects over which you've apparently missed the point. Sorry!
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          • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
            Originally Posted by ultradeal View Post

            You shouldn't have gotten so scared, "for dummies" is not a brand name its English.... otherwise I would now brand the word "free" and "sex" etc, and everyone who would use that word would have to pay me bigtime..or get their site down?
            It doesn't work that way I think. If a company is stupid enough not to buy a domain name then its their fault, if you register it you own the rights to it...
            They could only get you on content but I don't think they can get you on the domain name....
            Also they always have to warn you first , they don't put you in jail right away .
            I would get a lawyer that I could ask for advise when this stuff happens, For instance my site was listed on another site as being a scam a few years ago, while it wasn't, but they assumed it (a nasty competitor listed me there...smart but very dirty...). Wrote the guy a letter where I would threaten to sue him, and I actually called the police. He learned his lesson and I was just bluffing, to him and to the police . You have the world if You have a big mouth You know....
            Of course "Harry Potter" is a brand name, but how about Harrypotter or Magicharrypotter, these companies have a big mouth but they can't own everything. If they haven't branded Harrypotter its different then harry potter...
            I would just go for the name Parry Hotter because that sounds so much better. Besides getting sued would be awesome marketing ?
            Get in the news for taking on such a well established company that sues you and your site would get lots of hits .
            Hmmm maybe I should stop drinking beer now....
            Maybe the big companies cant own everything but they can sure try.

            Didn't Facebook just get rights (or they are trying to get rights) to the use of "Face" and "Book" in certain situations on the net?
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            • Profile picture of the author davezan
              Originally Posted by LilBlackDress View Post

              Didn't Facebook just get rights (or they are trying to get rights) to the use of "Face" and "Book" in certain situations on the net?
              In progress for face, though unsure about book. Then again, even Facebook
              themselves said they're not out to establish like an absolute, exclusive claim
              over the word/s for anything other than their trademarks.

              Newbies,

              Although it's easier to ask this question, in the future it helps to just use that
              search function since this has been beaten to death like a gazillion times. You
              will end up reading answers to your question anyway, so you might as well go
              over the ones previously asked.

              Although IANAL either, let me ask something for newbies especially: when you
              consider registering a domain name bearing a famous brand, do you honestly
              think people are going to look for you online...

              ...or the brand owner itself? I mean, that's the point of the brand, isn't it?

              Considering that intellectual property like trademarks essentially give its owner
              an "absolute" claim over the word for certain uses or classes, do you honestly
              think you can use that, especially for financial gain, without their permission?
              While you may think you're promoting or giving them more business, who are
              those internet users or consumers, again, looking for in the first place?

              Admittedly, it gets irritating when some people post something that, although
              with maybe a genuine desire to help, just isn't true or doesn't fit how it works
              in the real world. What's also sad, as someone mentioned, that newbies might
              believe it and then find it more difficult to glean the truth from fiction.

              Thus, as the also oft-mentioned "advice" goes, best to seek advice from one
              who's licensed to practice law and has real-world experience on the matter.
              Of course, many if not all lawyers give feedback rather than what some folks
              might consider qualified legal advice in an online forum, the latter which most
              lawyers, solicitors, etc. are wont to provide.

              Meharis,

              Though other lawyers will agree with Alexa that it's definitely possible to use
              a trademark in a domain under certain, exceptional scenarios, yours gave you
              an understandably and arguably "simpler" way to understand it. But hey, as
              long as it makes life safer and easier, yes?
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              David

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              • Profile picture of the author RedWaterDub
                Well thanks for all your input into this discussion people. I have decide to go with "wizardwands.org" instead of harrypotterwands or anything with harrypotter in it... as from what I can gather here, I might get in trouble using harrypotter even though the search rate for wizardwands is much lower it is still a high commercial keyword that is safe and legal.

                I also have other sites with tradenames in the domain like the one on my signature here. I will be taking all these down too as I just dont want to take the risk anymore....

                so THANKS A LOT EVERYONE!
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      • Profile picture of the author JamesMSpacey
        Originally Posted by RedWaterDub View Post

        Okay thanks you guys, that's my question answered. Shame coz there are some real gold domains amongst the harry potter theme.
        As far as I'm aware, and I don't sit up nights reading US Trademark Law (often), the 6th Circuit Ok'd trademarks in a URL's post-domain path.

        So
        www.sicksitename.com/Harry_Potter_This
        www.sicksitename.com/Harry_Potter_That

        Would give you an avenue into the market.

        Exact match domains aren't everything.
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      • Profile picture of the author joymarino
        Originally Posted by RedWaterDub View Post

        Okay thanks you guys, that's my question answered. Shame coz there are some real gold domains amongst the harry potter theme.
        Perhaps a spin on it would help? Like "TeenWizardMagicSpells.com" It's probably not real good, and with Harry Potter being out for a few years it is probably a challenge, but if you think about the story, characters, etc. you may find a few ways to spin it that would achieve your overall goals(s).

        Best of luck!
        ~Joy~

        PS: That particular website might be available and there is the whole "Wizards of Waverly Place" that could be a secondary product niche for you...
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  • Profile picture of the author LondonPaladin
    It's about a couple of things.
    1. Do they own the trademark.
    2. Could people easily mistake you for the company who owns the trademark

    If you call your site Harry Potters Magic Spells and you are actually a wizard named Harry Potter OR it's a fansite you would probably be kosher.

    But if you just set up a site to sell products related to Harry Potter that's when you run into trouble.

    They just seize your site and all the profits. Hope you didn't spend them!
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  • Profile picture of the author Nigel Greaves
    ultradeal,

    Originally Posted by ultradeal View Post

    If a company is stupid enough not to buy a domain name then its their fault, if you register it you own the rights to it...
    That's what is known as trademark infringement. You might want to do some checking before offering advice.

    Originally Posted by ultradeal View Post

    It doesn't work that way I think.
    (My emphasis)

    Was that a qualified legal opinion?

    Nigel
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    • Profile picture of the author Meharis
      This issue has been discussed 1000k times and seems that
      some people refuse to get it once and for all.
      You can not, I repeat, you can not use a Trademark Name
      in your Domain; period.
      Maybe you would understand it the day you will gave to pay a
      lawyer to get yourself out of a lawsuit for Trademark infringement.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Meharis View Post

        You can not, I repeat, you can not use a Trademark Name in your Domain; period.
        Sorry, but this is also wrong!

        There's no "period" about it. There are permitted uses. (Like the website "paypalsucks.com" and so on - "legitimate review/protest purposes". Don't you think PayPal would have closed that down, by now, if they could?).

        What you can't do, though, is use it for financial/commercial gain.

        With due respect to all, this is why you shouldn't take legal advice in forums: there's very little legal knowledge here, and there are many factual misstatements and many strong opinions ... I'm "just saying".
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        • Profile picture of the author Meharis
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          Sorry, but this is also wrong!
          Check with a lawyer. Don't be surprise by the answer.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Meharis View Post

            Check with a lawyer.
            I did, thank you. I've discussed it with an internet lawyer many times, as it's actually highly relevant to my own business.

            If you want to use the forum's search function and look for posts on this subject by "Kindsvater" (who is a practising US-based internet lawyer), you'll readily see why your statement was mistaken.
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            • Profile picture of the author Meharis
              Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

              I did, thank you. I've discussed it with an internet lawyer many times, as it's actually highly relevant to my own business.

              If you want to use the forum's search function and look for posts on this subject by "Kindsvater" (who is a practising US-based internet lawyer), you'll readily see why your statement was mistaken.
              I don't have to look for any postings.
              I don't use trademarks in my domains. That's the best and safest way to be out of trouble.
              Furthermore, my lawyer totally agrees with this practice.
              I don't have to worry about any of my over one hundred domains I own.
              Meharis
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Wiley Publishing ripped a domain right out from under me a few years back because I used domainname-for-dummies.
      ripped? Don't think so - companies protect the names THEY HAVE TRADEMARKED from use by those who want to capitalize on a brand name. That's the point of paying to register your trademarked name.

      The Harry Potter name is trademarked...the "for dummies" is trademarked. Copyright and trademark are not the same thing. Too bad some don't do the research to learn about "rights" before offering advice.

      If you are offering advice about what people "can legally do" - you need to give your legal qualifications before giving advice that could cause expensive legal problems.

      IANAL - and neither are most in this thread. If you choose to use a trademark and are challenged by the company (happens a lot), "they said it was OK on the forum" doesn't hold up well in court.:rolleyes:

      kay
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  • Profile picture of the author robgee123
    I just recieved an email from the big bad bully EBAY cos I had a domain with their name in it,so I've hd to park my domain and sease trading from it

    The thing is though, there are other domains doing the same thing & they seem to be getting away with it...?
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    • Profile picture of the author Meharis
      Originally Posted by robgee123 View Post

      The thing is though, there are other domains doing the same thing & they seem to be getting away with it...?
      Some people walk to a store at gun point, take the money and get away.
      Others get shot and/or end up in jail...
      Meharis
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by robgee123 View Post

      I just recieved an email from the big bad bully EBAY cos I had a domain with their name in it,so I've hd to park my domain and sease trading from it

      The thing is though, there are other domains doing the same thing & they seem to be getting away with it...?
      Yeah ... the audacity of them to protect their trademark.
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesMSpacey
    Interesting you used Harry Potter as an example:

    Trade Marks – Who is the Real Harry Potter? - Time Warner Entertainment Company, LP v Stepsam Investments Pty Ltd [2003] FCA 1502 (December 2003)

    A successful retail clothing store in Australia invented Harry Potter as a fictitious designer for one of its clothing labels before Rowling every wrote a word - and after the books became famous Time Warner went after the label and tried to shut it down, somewhat successfully.
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Originally Posted by JamesMSpacey View Post

      Interesting you used Harry Potter as an example:

      Trade Marks – Who is the Real Harry Potter? - Time Warner Entertainment Company, LP v Stepsam Investments Pty Ltd [2003] FCA 1502 (December 2003)

      A successful retail clothing store in Australia invented Harry Potter as a fictitious designer for one of its clothing labels before Rowling every wrote a word - and after the books became famous Time Warner went after the label and tried to shut it down, somewhat successfully.
      Well there you go. That sums this arguement up nicely.

      If a company like Time Warner or any other company with monstrously deep pockets, can come after and take a name they don't own, what hope in hell exactly, do some of the people in this thread have of using something they do own?
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  • Profile picture of the author haymanpl
    Find a keyword that covers the overall general topic of your site and has high traffic related longtail keywords branching off it which you can use for categories in your blog.

    If you want a blog about books then include book in the domain then write about everything relating to books.


    You'd need to check the copyright individually in each case which i did before i bought my domain even though some seem to think i'm trying to copy wordpress i'm a wordpress developer who writes how to's a tutorials about wordpress.org the free software which is an open source project unlike wordpress.com
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  • Profile picture of the author oneplusone
    Originally Posted by RedWaterDub View Post

    Can I make a website with the name "Harry Potter" in it? and can I use that name in a domain? For example could I use the domain name "HarryPotterMagicSpells.com" if it was available? or is it illegal to use this kind of brand name? Is that copyright?
    This should be in the SEO section.

    Please post in the correct section...

    Why are your posts disappearing?
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  • Profile picture of the author BigMoneyPTC
    I would just go for the name Parry Hotter because that sounds so much better. Besides getting sued would be awesome marketing ?
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    • Profile picture of the author RustyF
      Originally Posted by BigMoneyPTC View Post

      I would just go for the name Parry Hotter because that sounds so much better. Besides getting sued would be awesome marketing ?

      That's funny dude. But even playing around with a name can cause problems

      Buck Cherry allegedly got a cease and desist order from someone representing Chuck Berry. But they were able to show they got the name based on someone they knew.

      They say it had nothing to do with Chuck Berry but I never believed that. As soon as I saw the name I new it referred to Chuck Berry. If I was Chuck, I would have been flattered..... He too is a crazy .... But I love him anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author RustyF
    Yeah if you use the name Harry Potter you will at least get a cease and desist or take down notice. You'll be banned from Google. Probably have your hosting terminated. but if you don't get sued and can make some money fast..... I'm far too timid to do that.

    I guess you could setup a Panama Corporation to hide your identity... Maybe....
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike McAleer
    It really all depends on what the company wants to or does not want to do with this. They could go after you but it will usually depend on the company.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zenix
    There will be different from company to company. So I suggest you choose your domain name and check it out if it's not violating someone or something.
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  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMonkey
    ^Good choice. I remember my son's school had a homecoming "Harry Potter theme' and they didn't use Harry Potter or what not because they would have to pay a large sum of money.

    I'm glad that it worked out for you!
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  • Profile picture of the author VOnline
    Hope your new domain works out RedWater
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  • Profile picture of the author RedWaterDub
    I just thought of another one who is getting away with it. George Brown's "Google Sniper" That has brand name google in it and he has sold his product twice making over a million dollars each time and seems to be allowed to...how does he get away with that?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by RedWaterDub View Post

      how does he get away with that?
      Who knows?

      My guess is that he has permission.

      Google are certainly not slow to institute legal proceedings against people who abuse their trademarks. There've been many cases (and doubtless several hundred times as many more settled out of court without becoming "cases" at all).
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