It is not legal! STOP it!

91 replies
Hey guys and girls.
Everyday I am finding websites that have trademarked name in its URL. They make money with it because it's great for searches. But it is not legal! Or can we use for example somehing like: http://PRADAsunglassesbuy.com/ is it legal?!
#legal #stop #trademark
  • Profile picture of the author Pierce
    I do not think it is. I know that a lot of people used to do this selling TVs through amazon but companies started cracking down on it a lot.

    One thing thing that people started to do instead that still works is have the product number or name in your domain. For example if you were promoting a Vizio XVT3D650SV, you could make XVT3D650SVreview.com or something like that. Its ugly but helps your rankings for sure.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cali16
      I'm not an attorney, but I believe using a trademarked name in your domain name falls under trademark infringement (unles, of course, you own the trademark). Definitely not a good idea! The company that owns the trademark could potentially take you to court.

      If you're ever in doubt as to whether something is trademarked, you can go to uspto.gov - it contains the database of registered trademarks.
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    • Profile picture of the author f5mtadas
      Originally Posted by Pierce View Post

      I do not think it is. I know that a lot of people used to do this selling TVs through amazon but companies started cracking down on it a lot.

      One thing thing that people started to do instead that still works is have the product number or name in your domain. For example if you were promoting a Vizio XVT3D650SV, you could make XVT3D650SVreview.com or something like that. Its ugly but helps your rankings for sure.
      YES it is only profesional, legal and ethic way to do business and make sales
      online
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  • Profile picture of the author kamalmix
    but people won't type buy XVT3D650SV. they wll type for example buy SAMSUNG tv isn't?
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    • Profile picture of the author THK
      Originally Posted by kamalmix View Post

      but people won't type buy XVT3D650SV. they wll type for example buy SAMSUNG tv isn't?
      They will not search for "XVT3D650SV", but they can search for "Samsung XVT3D650SV". If your domain has "XVT3D650SV" in it, your site is very likely to come up for that search.

      Tanvir
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      • Profile picture of the author kamalmix
        Originally Posted by THK View Post

        They will not search for "XVT3D650SV", but they can search for "Samsung XVT3D650SV". If your domain has "XVT3D650SV" in it, your site is very likely to come up for that search.

        Tanvir
        BUT, i don't think that it is legal too. because you are using something that already have been used by some company. I don't knwo anny other way to promote products. Can you help me? How to promote for example Gibson Guitar without using trademarked name but rank for this keyword?:p
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        • Profile picture of the author UMS
          Originally Posted by kamalmix View Post

          Can you help me? How to promote for example Gibson Guitar without using trademarked name but rank for this keyword?:p
          Use a generic domain name, eg: myguitarreviews.com and then you can create pages for each guitar type, eg:

          myguitarreviews.com/gibson-MODEL-guitar
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        • Profile picture of the author Kal Sallam
          Originally Posted by kamalmix View Post

          BUT, i don't think that it is legal too. because you are using something that already have been used by some company. I don't knwo anny other way to promote products. Can you help me? How to promote for example Gibson Guitar without using trademarked name but rank for this keyword?:p
          Have a web site about Guitar. Rank a page for the keyword.

          Google "Gymboss review" The guy has a site called TopFatLossTRainer

          No Brand names...however one his pages rankes # on Google for the keyword

          "Gymboss Review" Hope this example helps.
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        • Profile picture of the author THK
          Originally Posted by kamalmix View Post

          BUT, i don't think that it is legal too. because you are using something that already have been used by some company. I don't knwo anny other way to promote products. Can you help me? How to promote for example Gibson Guitar without using trademarked name but rank for this keyword?:p
          Oh yea...I was not commenting on the legality of this, just making a point on how having the model number in the domain might help. By the way, I am no expert on the subject.

          Company and product names can be trademarked, but I am not sure about the model numbers. If those numbers are not, then I don't think it can be illegal. Disclaimer: I am no lawyer and all that.

          I will leave it up to the SEO experts to give you ideas about the Gibson Guitar promotion and ranking

          Tanvir
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  • Profile picture of the author kamalmix
    Thanks. I knew it. But why do they do it? Don't they afraid of law?
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    • Profile picture of the author PatriciaJ
      They do it out of ignorance or if they know that it is trademark infringement they do it because they think that they will never get caught out.
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      • Profile picture of the author art72
        Originally Posted by PatriciaJ View Post

        They do it out of ignorance or if they know that it is trademark infringement they do it because they think that they will never get caught out.
        I would be guilty of the 'bolded' above when I first got going back in Feb-Mar 2011. I bought a reseller product that had the name "Twitter" in it.

        I had just started learning about keyword research, and used the Google Keyword External tool to find 'what I believed' were low competition keywords.

        Long story short, I had actually bought 5 domains with the product's name, which had the word "Twitter" in it, and I bought one; "Twiiter" with a misspell.

        The irony is, I thought I'd struck gold since the keyword "twiiter" get [301,000] exact monthly searches, and the others all had roughly [74,000] exact monthly searches.

        While, I have 'pulled' the sites down, and never really made any money, it still baffles me because all the other domains, the product itself has the Trademark Name "Twitter" in the title and domain name. But, after reading that "Twitter" specifically expresses needing written consent in their TOS... I really didn't think they would bother chasing me down, but why risk it?

        I will likely just auction off the domains and move on.

        *If anyone has more insight concerning all these PLR, MRR, and resell products with social sites like "Twitter" in the title, I sure would like to know, if a reseller can be held accountable, as we all know there are tons of product creators and resellers making money from all these "How to" items.

        Is that permitted?

        Hell if I know, but I'm not pushing my luck!

        All the Best,

        Art
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        • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
          Originally Posted by art72 View Post

          "Twitter" specifically expresses needing written consent in their TOS... I really didn't think they would bother chasing me down, but why risk it?

          I will likely just auction off the domains and move on.
          Isn't this pretty much the IM version of the "greater fool" strategy of junk bond traders-based on their confidence that there is always another sucker downstream that they can sell this toxic asset to, and recoup the initial investment plus a profit, before everyone figures out how worthless it is?

          If you won't keep them because they are a legal liability, do you really want the bad karma of selling them to a poor schmuck that is still in the dark like you were when you picked them up?
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      • Profile picture of the author Sandy Martin
        Originally Posted by PatriciaJ View Post

        They do it out of ignorance or if they know that it is trademark infringement they do it because they think that they will never get caught out.
        I partly agree with what Pat said, I think it's not out of ignorance but they do it by purpose for reason that they can get away with it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kal Sallam
      Originally Posted by kamalmix View Post

      Thanks. I knew it. But why do they do it? Don't they afraid of law?
      Its like speeding some people get caught and as a result get fined and some

      get away with it. It used to be ok a few years ago, but the internet is always

      changing. Now these domain you see are most likely registered a few years

      ago. Also Amazon will now work with you if you have any Brand Names in your

      domain. There was a thread a couple of days ago about this same topic.

      one person mentioned Law suites and sized domains and amazon

      associates account suspension....so who do it?

      you want to be building something long term anyway..I know I do.



      cheers


      Kal.
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  • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
    Originally Posted by kamalmix View Post

    Or can we use for example somehing like: http://PRADAsunglassesbuy.com/ is it legal?!
    Hell no! That's terrible!

    It should be http://BuyPRADAsunglasses.com/
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    • Profile picture of the author kamalmix
      Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

      Hell no! That's terrible!

      It should be http://BuyPRADAsunglasses.com/
      LOL?!
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    • Profile picture of the author theimdude
      Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

      Hell no! That's terrible!

      It should be http://BuyPRADAsunglasses.com/
      I like, excellent domain
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  • Profile picture of the author RyanJohnson
    ethics say don't use trademarked names. Something to note, however, is that some are well known names of products, but they aren't trademarked. In this case it would be OK to use, but if the product creator ever did get a trademark on the name, they would still likely have grounds to stop you from using it... even though you had it before it was a trademark.

    ^does that even make sense? ;D
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  • Profile picture of the author kamalmix
    Thanks guys. I'll do my best.
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    You rank for keywords by writing about them.

    The only answer for an "is it legal" question you should trust is one given by an attorney experienced in that area of the law, not by people who play lawyers on a forum. Legal advice from a marketing forum is worth exactly what you pay for it: nothing.
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  • Profile picture of the author eminc
    I think it is a trademark infringement, but why would the GIANTS be bothered about this until and unless you are not affecting their sales? I don't see Sony giving me a notice to put my domain down if I write a good review about their products or try to sell that.

    Rather than that, you are actually promoting their products and increasing their sales. Logically they should be happy, and that's why so many websites which use their names and provide reviews about the websites are still running.


    Mohit
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    • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
      Originally Posted by Mohit Jawanjal View Post

      I think it is a trademark infringement, but why would the GIANTS be bothered about this until and unless you are not affecting their sales? I don't see Sony giving me a notice to put my domain down if I write a good review about their products or try to sell that.

      Rather than that, you are actually promoting their products and increasing their sales. Logically they should be happy, and that's why so many websites which use their names and provide reviews about the websites are still running.


      Mohit
      While at first glance, your reasoning seems sound, you are ignoring an important aspect of the issue from the point of view of the company whose name is being used.

      They cannot control what you, an independent business person, do with your website. You might be "increasing their sales", by exaggerating the benefits of their products, or you might have other content on the site they don't feel is in keeping with their branding, etc.

      I recall reading that one of the legal arguments that would arise in such a copyright infringement case, is whether your site might be mistaken for their site by a casual visitor, therefore causing people's perception of the company to be affected by what your site says, as they believe it represents the company. I'm not a lawyer, and obviously don't take legal advice from me. The above is only hearsay.
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    • Profile picture of the author davezan
      Originally Posted by Mohit Jawanjal View Post

      I don't see Sony giving me a notice to put my domain down if I write a good review about their products or try to sell that.
      FYI, Sony Ericsson recently got the Xperia Blog to effectively shut down, despite
      certain things that can arguably work for the latter if they opted to fight.

      Here's a thing, folks: when someone types a product name in Google, who do you
      think they're intending to look for?
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by Mohit Jawanjal View Post

      why would the GIANTS be bothered about this until and unless you are not affecting their sales?
      Because trademark owners need to protect their property or risk losing the mark. This has nothing to do with whether you are affecting their sales or not.

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on tv, or impersonate one on a forum.....
    but.........

    It seems to me if the use particular domain name is that confusing and you don't have money to ask a lawyer about it:

    Find another domain name.

    Problem solved.
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  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    I am not an attorney either, but that practice is call domain squatting if I am not mistaken. There is a law prohibiting it with pretty steep penalties.

    But like with any law, you can get away with it until you get caught. So many people, in their ignorance, think it is a good way to cash in.
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  • Profile picture of the author MastaBeta
    Has anyone had an experience where they actually got in trouble for it?
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    • Profile picture of the author creature
      Originally Posted by MastaBeta View Post

      Has anyone had an experience where they actually got in trouble for it?
      Absolutely - we had the name of an acutal retirement community that we lived in called "Trilogy La Quinta" in our domain name, and the lawyer for the builder of Trilogy Homes sent us a letter telling us that the use of their trademark in our domain URL was trademark infringement and if we did not shut the site down we would be liable for all court costs + damages. We alos had to surrender the domain to the trademark owner.

      Having the trademarked name in a subdomain is perfectly legal. So you could have "homesforsale.com/trilogylaquinta.html" without fear of repercussion.

      This is established case law in the US. I confirmed this with a USPT official.

      It is not "illegal" in the sense that if the trademark owner does not choose to force the issue, no one else can.
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      • Profile picture of the author AnitaCross
        Originally Posted by creature View Post

        Having the trademarked name in a subdomain is perfectly legal. So you could have "homesforsale.com/trilogylaquinta.html" without fear of repercussion.
        Just a little clarification for any newbies following this thread:

        subdomain: trilogylaquinta.homesforsale.com
        subdirectory: homesforsale.com/trilogylaquinta/
        filename: homesforsale.com/trilogylaquinta.html

        I don't know if putting the trademarked name in a subdomain would cause trouble or not, but it should be fine as a subdirectory, as a category name, or as part of a page/filename.

        In any event, don't use a trademarked name if the subdirectory, category, or page isn't about that product line.

        -Anita
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          I don't know if putting the trademarked name in a subdomain would cause trouble or not, but it should be fine as a subdirectory, as a category name, or as part of a page/filename.
          Using a trademark is fine - right up till you get a C&D.

          Subdomain/folder/filename/page title - if you use a trademarked name you may - or may not - get by with it.

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

            Using a trademark is fine - right up till you get a C&D.

            Subdomain/folder/filename/page title - if you use a trademarked name you may - or may not - get by with it.

            kay
            If you get a C&D for using a trademarked name in a subdomain / page title - filename you can challenge it successfully - the losing party will be responsible for court costs, and you will be the winning party.

            That is well established case law. Research it yourself and you can easily find the several cases that established this precedent and have been consistently upheld. It's ONLY a problem in the domain name.
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            • Profile picture of the author davezan
              Originally Posted by creature View Post

              the losing party will be responsible for court costs, and you will be the winning party.
              Nissan.com - Lawsuit - The Story

              The court ordered NMC to pay $58,000 as cost under rule 68, this is less then 2% of what the cost was to defend this case.
              PerfumeBay vs. eBay

              Each party shall bear its costs on appeal.
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              • Profile picture of the author creature

                As I said, using a trademarked name in a domain can be a real problem for you; but there is no problem with using the same trademarked name in the title of your webpage within your domain.

                If the guy named Nissan had used "offbrand-computers.com/nissan.html" instead of "nissan.com" he would be home free.

                For example just look at all the auto parts websites whatever.com with pages of "Ford Parts" "Jaguar Parts" etc. - they have NO problems with that usage.

                But for practical purposes I would agree with Kay - much less stress and waste of time to just take the page down.
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    • Profile picture of the author kevinhdavis
      Originally Posted by MastaBeta View Post

      Has anyone had an experience where they actually got in trouble for it?
      In my experience, the first step is a cease and desist letter. In my case it was content, not a domain.

      That is the cheapest cost to them for an initial action, and starts the process.

      Trademark infringement litigation against someone that has no money is pointless.

      Like others have said, if you are worried about it, don't do it.

      The domain is just one aspect on on-site seo.

      Kevin
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  • Profile picture of the author Warrior X
    Why build a business that could be taken away from you tomorrow?
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    • Profile picture of the author Charles Jones
      man this has been BEATEN to DEATH.

      YES IT IS ILLEGAL if the company wanted to prosecute you, or they can just ask for your domain to be SEIZED...easier and cheaper and just as effective.

      Also, EVERY SINGLE affiliate TOS I have seen when I sold stuff PROHIBITS their trademarks in your keywords or URL. They will just NOT PAY YOU FOR ANYTHING you sold..and then kick you off the network.

      REALLY?? REALLY??? just SEO the damn page with titles, H1 tags, backlinks ect. Stop trying to game the system. You will get similar results without risking your business or BUSINESSES....ie you hosting all of your URL'S on the same account and "Prada" for instance requesting your server be shut down and then your domain transferred to them.

      This is SIMPLE...don't use other people trademarks.
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  • Profile picture of the author apolwar
    Originally Posted by kamalmix View Post

    Hey guys and girls.
    Everyday I am finding websites that have trademarked name in its URL. They make money with it because it's great for searches. But it is not legal! Or can we use for example somehing like: http://PRADAsunglassesbuy.com/ is it legal?!
    I went to the site, and it seems it has been taken off the net. It says 'website cannot be found'.

    Are there internet laws about trademarks and copyrights?
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    • Profile picture of the author davezan
      Originally Posted by apolwar View Post

      I went to the site, and it seems it has been taken off the net. It says 'website cannot be found'.

      Are there internet laws about trademarks and copyrights?
      That's just an example. And yes, there are "internet laws" about them.

      Originally Posted by Laissez Faire View Post

      Remember, if it is profitable, then we act.

      Take the cost (whether it be fiscal or ethical) and compare it to the return.
      And be ready to deal with the consequence/s, if any, of your choice.
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      • Profile picture of the author apolwar
        Originally Posted by davezan View Post

        That's just an example. And yes, there are "internet laws" about them.
        Then whoever makes that 'mistake' of using a trademarked brand should be held liable in court and cannot use his ignorance of the internet laws as his defense.
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        • Profile picture of the author AnitaCross
          Keep in mind my background is retail sites, not affiliate sales...

          In my experience, it is easier to get traffic to a focused niche site than to one that is too broad, or all encompassing. But it is also possible to focus too tightly in a niche, and end up limiting the profit potential.

          Trying to sell anything and everything a dog owner might want or need is way too broad, but trying to sell just a specific brand of dog collar, for example, is too tight.

          So even if it weren't a problem legally, BuyPradaSunglasses.com creates too tight of a niche, (in my opinion.)

          So if you want to 'sell' Prada sunglasses, the domain could be something like buygreatsunglasses.com and one of the categories could be Prada... with only Prada sunglasses listed in that category. Then add other categories for other high-end brands, each populated with products from that brand...

          Problem solved. You will have a more viable website, and you don't have to worry about trademarks or infringement.

          -Anita
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          • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
            Ask Prada.

            If they say you can, get it in writing and do what you told them you'd do.

            If they say no, then don't.

            Only two people can help you on this Kamal, a lawyer or Prada.

            ...and don't listen to me either. I'm neither of them.
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            • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
              Originally Posted by Richard Van View Post

              Ask Prada.
              I'm not so sure I would even touch Prada with a ten foot pole, regardless of legal issues. You might end up with the Devil for a customer, since s/he wears it, according to rumor, and you know rumors wouldn't exist if they weren't true. Hope that helps you all be better marketers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Laissez Faire
    Remember, if it is profitable, then we act.

    Take the cost (whether it be fiscal or ethical) and compare it to the return.
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    • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
      Originally Posted by Laissez Faire View Post

      Remember, if it is profitable, then we act.

      Take the cost (whether it be fiscal or ethical) and compare it to the return.
      Really-so are you actually saying what it sounds like: that if a particular profit making activity that you personally define as unethical, pays well enough, the "ethical cost" of doing it might be worth paying in your mind?
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      • Profile picture of the author Don Luis
        Banned
        Of course, it's not ethical nor legal, but I have seen lots of sites with trademarks or brand names in their URLs. My guess is that these sites are trying to make as much money as possible from product name searches before pulling the plug as soon as the trademark owners catch up on them. After all, domain names are cheap and it's so easy to put up niche sites nowadays.
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        • Profile picture of the author WebPen
          Originally Posted by Don Luis View Post

          Of course, it's not ethical nor legal, but I have seen lots of sites with trademarks or brand names in their URLs. My guess is that these sites are trying to make as much money as possible from product name searches before pulling the plug as soon as the trademark owners catch up on them. After all, domain names are cheap and it's so easy to put up niche sites nowadays.
          I'm guessing this is the case.

          If the person knows what they're doing they can probably rank the site very quickly.

          If it can make lots of money for a month or 2 before it gets shut down, that person may consider it a success.

          Another thing is- there's lots of money to be made doing things illegally (or so I hear). A lot of people would rather take their chances and do illegal stuff than build a legitimate business.

          Personally I just don't think it's worth it.
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Coming to a marketing forum with a subject line like "It is not legal! STOP it!" is about as effective as a pro wrestler standing in the middle of the ring and telling the jeering crowd to shut up.

            So why do people keep bringing this up?

            Because, unless someone sneaks in front of me, this will be post #75, on page 2 of the thread. It draws attention, and gets the crowd whipped up...
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  • Profile picture of the author KevinRichardsonMD
    I think one could argue prada can be used as indicated by the OP under the fair use statute.
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Originally Posted by KevinRichardsonMD View Post

      I think one could argue prada can be used as indicated by the OP under the fair use statute.
      Yes but does fair use cover using their Trademarked name in a domain to sell their products for your own gain?

      This isn't a one size fits all issue. Prada may be stricter than Microsoft and vice versa.

      I think one could argue
      We could argue until the cows come home but I'd still say it's best to ask a lawyer or Prada themselves.
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul200
        Yes it is illegal and you can have your domain name taken away from you by the companys name who you are using and there is not a thing you can do about it.

        The best thing to do is to contact the companys name who you are using and ask perrmission to use it to sell/promote their products and just hope once you build up traffic to the site they dont decide to take it from you.

        I have seen this happen a lot over the past 5 years
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  • Profile picture of the author Palusko
    Some time ago there was a case when someone used a trademark in their domain. I don't remember the details, but it was something like "www.trademark-reviews.com" (let's say FordCarsReviews). Basically, the owner of the site reviewed only products of that one company and even not all of them, but rather a specific category (for example he did not review Ford trucks). He did not compare them to other products. There was a law suit but if I am not mistaken, the judge ruled that it was a fair use, because he did not claim to be affiliated and he used the trademark to describe his intent, and not to infringe or mislead readers.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicolas simpson
    Is twitterbusinesstool.com illegal????
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    • Profile picture of the author art72
      Originally Posted by nicolas simpson View Post

      Is twitterbusinesstool.com illegal????
      From what I have learned, unless you get expressed written consent from Twitter, the answer is "Yes" it is illegal, and is exactly why my earlier post mentioned I had voluntarily shut my sites down after learning Twitter could (if they elected to) prosecute me for infringing on their TM'd name.

      Not a risk I am willing to take.

      I'm still a bit fuzzy on the misspelled domain, but it's not even worth the headache as my entire business model and marketing focus has evolved to more productive usage of my time and growing knowledge.

      For the record, as Greg Guitar pointed out from my original post, I too have elected to let my domains expire, and eat the small investment, as opposed to selling them to the next unsuspecting poor schmuck as he inadvertantly implied I was when I bought them.:p

      Oops!

      -Art
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      • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
        Originally Posted by art72 View Post

        From what I have learned, unless you get expressed written consent from Twitter, the answer is "Yes" it is illegal, and is exactly why my earlier post mentioned I had voluntarily shut my sites down after learning Twitter could (if they elected to) prosecute me for infringing on their TM'd name.

        Not a risk I am willing to take.

        I'm still a bit fuzzy on the misspelled domain, but it's not even worth the headache as my entire business model and marketing focus has evolved to more productive usage of my time and growing knowledge.

        For the record, as Greg Guitar pointed out from my original post, I too have elected to let my domains expire, and eat the small investment, as opposed to selling them to the next unsuspecting poor schmuck as he inadvertantly implied I was when I bought them.:p

        Oops!

        -Art
        Sorry if I sounded a little harsh. I didn't think you bought them with that intention. I just thought you had realized after buying that it was a mistake, and were trying to cut your losses, but had not thought through the implications involved in selling them, since the buyer would be stuck with the same liability, most likely without realizing it.

        I am honored if my post had anything to do with you changing your mind. I think that shows a high level of integrity on your part. Respect.
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  • Profile picture of the author sal64
    I once registered 3 domains with ebay in them.

    About 7 days later I received a cease and desist letter from them.

    People wanna play with fire? That's cool... just don't come running to momma when you get burned.

    Why do people keep asking this question when it's common knowledge that the practice is high risk if not down right illegal?

    Do they somehow believe that if they persist, eventually someone will answer in a way that will justify their approach?
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    • Profile picture of the author The Lawyer
      Banned
      There is no hard-and-fast rule that applies generally to intellectual property copyright law(s). Questions like this, concerning the validity of established 'brand' names must be relegated to the juridical processes of not only geographical contexts in question but, legal precedence, uses of the 'brand,' intentions, etc.

      The truth is, you are NEVER going to go to jail or be penalized on the back of your questionable domain. You will receive a C&D from a lawyer or law firm that will advise you to transfer all rights over to their client within a set period. When this time frame passes, and if you have not relinquished all title and rights to the intellectual property in question, you can be sued for damages at exponential multiples.

      So, the cheapest thing to do is just hand over the domain/site when you get the C&D unless you are making such an extraordinary amount that you can hire an attorney who specializes in this area and can advise you to make alterations with respect to server location, language, etc. that may or may not mitigate the power of their infringement claim.

      These cases, when taken to court can go either way. This stuff is esoteric to most people, including judges...
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  • Profile picture of the author emily45
    When I first began Internet Marketing I was really ignorant about these things (copyrights) and I was notified about a couple of my domains which I had to hand over to someone else. I almost panicked because I did NOT want to be sued! Well, I have learned a lot over the years!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Latsyrc
    I am not a lawyer, but yes the example you gave OP is probably infringement. However, it is not always infringement depending... (think of websites like People of Walmart, Couponing To Disney, etc). Again, I am not a lawyer.

    Nominative use - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I have a website using a Disney trademark that I believe is safe because it is used to describe what my content is about in a personal nature, my experiences, reviews.
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  • Profile picture of the author LOM
    They do it because it produces money, point blank. It's definitely wrong, but until caught they will continue to rake in the doe. The penalty will be severe sooner or later..
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      If you get a C&D for using a trademarked name in a subdomain / page title - filename you can challenge it successfully - the losing party will be responsible for court costs, and you will be the winning party.
      And that's where these threads go off the rails to me.

      I would never spend the time/money required to go to court to defend a web page...or subdomain. What you potentially CAN do must be balanced by doing what makes sense.

      I've gotten letters from lawyers twice about trademarks. Two different large, well known manufacturers. It was in the article titles on my websites and thus was the file name for those two pages. It was a product line name and I never even gave trademark a thought in that context (my bad).

      I didn't have a need to defend my rights or argue my case - I just took the pages down. It wasn't a huge deal to me. Just an "oops" and moved on.

      kay
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  • Profile picture of the author gushy0202
    In many cases for small business owners its just seizing the domain, which cause less effect as the owner would have made much profits with the trademarked name... for bigger companies bigger lawsuit... anyways the % remains same...
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  • Profile picture of the author CPAPro MikeT
    There's definitely a good chance that the company will come after the person who owns the infringing domain.

    That being said, most of the time the owner will just hand the domain over, apologize and hopefully keep whatever profits they've earned.
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  • Profile picture of the author DrewDaze
    To be completely honest I use trademark names once in a while... The worst that will happen is they will send you a cease and desist. To be taken to court should be the least of your worries. Set up an LLC and protect yourself.
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Originally Posted by DrewDaze View Post

      To be completely honest I use trademark names once in a while... The worst that will happen is they will send you a cease and desist. To be taken to court should be the least of your worries. Set up an LLC and protect yourself.
      What a great business person you are. Nothing like setting up income streams that you can have taken away.

      Congratulations, one of the crappest bits of advice I've seen on this forum. If any newbie reads this I'd ignore it immediately.

      I can only assume you don't make much with those TM domains because if you had created a site that was bringing in 5k a week and you got a cease and desist letter and had to go to court, I simply can't see how that wouldn't bother you....

      .....Especially, if you were good at IM, you could have set up exactly the same site but simply not had the TM in the domain.

      Exact match domains are not the be all and end all of ranking, it amazes me when people build businesses on sand then try and justify it.

      :rolleyes:
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      • Profile picture of the author DrewDaze
        Originally Posted by Richard Van View Post

        What a great business person you are. Nothing like setting up income streams that you can have taken away.

        Congratulations, one of the crappest bits of advice I've seen on this forum. If any newbie reads this I'd ignore it immediately.

        I can only assume you don't make much with those TM domains because if you had created a site that was bringing in 5k a week and you got a cease and desist letter and had to go to court, I simply can't see how that wouldn't bother you....

        .....Especially, if you were good at IM, you could have set up exactly the same site but simply not had the TM in the domain.

        Exact match domains are not the be all and end all of ranking, it amazes me when people build businesses on sand then try and justify it.

        :rolleyes:
        You don't have to go to court with a cease and desist letter, you simply take the site down. No i'm not going to be pulling in 5k a week on these kinds of sites, but hey maybe a couple hundred a month... I'll take my chances.. they're easy to rank, takes very little time to set up and adds some extra income. Would I make this my main priority and business income, no way.

        Seriously, if you can take 30 minutes to set up a site and pull in some extra money, do it. If you have to take the site down after you've made several hundred or maybe thousand dollars... who cares, you made your money.
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        • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
          Originally Posted by DrewDaze View Post

          You don't have to go to court with a cease and desist letter, you simply take the site down.
          Yes I know how it works, many years ago when I started, I did this and got caught. I'm speaking from experience, not assumption.

          No i'm not going to be pulling in 5k a week on these kinds of sites, but hey maybe a couple hundred a month...
          That makes more sense. I can understand people taking their chances on launches etc, especially over a short period of time. The point is though that sometimes they want all the money you have made from their name as well. I ran a site for 3 months and I not only lost the site but I had to pay them all the money I'd made.

          I'll take my chances.. they're easy to rank, takes very little time to set up and adds some extra income. Would I make this my main priority and business income, no way.
          Of course and you're free to do so. Sorry if my remarks were a little harsh. I'm also pleased you're not making this your main priority.

          Seriously, if you can take 30 minutes to set up a site and pull in some extra money, do it. If you have to take the site down after you've made several hundred or maybe thousand dollars... who cares, you made your money.
          Unless of course, as with me they take that money as well. In which case it was a total waste of time. Some people that Trademark their names consider not only the domain but the profit you made from it, to belong to them. They have deeper pockets than you.
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    • Profile picture of the author davezan
      Originally Posted by DrewDaze View Post

      To be taken to court should be the least of your worries. Set up an LLC and protect yourself.
      If those domains are registered under your LLC or whatever corporate entity, yet
      you yourself are committing the infringing activity, that will not necessarily shield
      you from liability. Maybe fine now, but some trademark holders like a challenge.

      Then again, I imagine you do, too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Johns
    From my experience, most companies aren't too worried about you using their trademark in a domain so long as you are not trying to pass yourself as them. So long as it is obvious it is not the manufacturer they don't get too upset. Many of them are happy for you to do so because you are promoting their products and making them money at the end of the day.

    If you are really unsure, phone the company and ask them - get them to put it in an email and they you are safe if they come back in the future.

    If you do get a C&D then the easiest thing is to roll over and hand the domain over - you can try fighting it / representing yourself but it costs money and time.

    There are risks involved with using a trademark in a domain name and you could lose the domain name / effort you've made in building said domain name. So long as you are happy to do that, go ahead, but if in doubt, speak to the company involved and ask permission.
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Originally Posted by Jason Johns View Post

      From my experience, most companies aren't too worried about you using their trademark in a domain so long as you are not trying to pass yourself as them. So long as it is obvious it is not the manufacturer they don't get too upset. Many of them are happy for you to do so because you are promoting their products and making them money at the end of the day.
      Hi Jason.

      When you say "they" you are actually refering to every single company with a Trademark. That is one massive generalisation.

      I don't go about it like that and I certainly wouldn't say that to newbies, of which many on this forum will have read your first bit and be out there now buying trademarked domains.

      If you are really unsure, phone the company and ask them - get them to put it in an email and they you are safe if they come back in the future.
      Excellent advice. Exactly what everyone should do rather than generalising about the entire trademarked industry.

      There are risks involved with using a trademark in a domain name and you could lose the domain name / effort you've made in building said domain name. So long as you are happy to do that, go ahead, but if in doubt, speak to the company involved and ask permission.
      Excellent advice though I would add that if they are very strict, they will not only consider the domain their property but also your profit, seeing as you're cashing in on a name they own and have trademarked. So you may find the whole thing is a waste of time, as I did.

      My point is that it's a legal issue and this is not the place to take any legal advice. Just ask the company involved.
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  • Profile picture of the author learnrope
    Any comments on the examples in this post?

    Using a trade mark in a domain, but different
    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...different.html
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  • Profile picture of the author Arthur Barn
    They do it because they want to attract people. Just imagine using popular trademark, isn't attractive and interesting?
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  • Profile picture of the author busybusinessman
    Of course it's illegal and you will be stopped if you do it if the firm you are piggy backing on is big enough to threaten you with a legal suit. Why risk it when you can make money online legally in so many ways?
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  • Profile picture of the author dagaul101
    This is one of those areas you have to find out from the trade mark owner if you can use it, or be granted permission to, before getting a cease and desist letter
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  • Profile picture of the author Palusko
    I think asking yourself "is this legal" is a wrong kind of question to ask. Let's assume, it is legal and it falls under fair use clause. That does not mean it will not get you in trouble. Trademark owners need to actively protect their TM, that means, you can still be bothered by them, even drag to court - even if they know you are right! In this cases, money talks, and unless you have a lawyer on a retainer, like corporations do...

    And, even if you win, at least in the USA, it can still cost you arm and leg in the process for legal fees. And in most cases, both parties pay their own legal council, but even if you manage to get the money back, it still takes time - do you have enough time and money to invest for several months to fight for your right?

    The bottom line is, being right is a beautiful thing, but it does not pay the bills. To some people, you may look like a coward, when you are not true to your conviction, but I say - pick your battles carefully. To me, to win the battle and end up broke is worse, than avoiding it and staying financially stable - even if you have to sacrifice your "truth". Just ask yourself - how is your truth going to help you out? Does your truth even matters so much, that you are willing to put yourself at risk? I mean, we're talking about a stupid thing like trademark in a domain name... so, does it really matter to you whether you have the right to use it or not, considering all the above? Seriously, what's the point?
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  • Profile picture of the author Cash37
    Fair use law. If you are reviewing something you can indeed used the terms. But I'm not lawyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author DrewDaze
    I hope this scares some people off from buying trademarked domain names =P
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  • Profile picture of the author dacahe
    Great question, is there an attorney in the house?

    I know I tried to promote some Amazon products a while back and my domain name was itoucha.com

    I wasn't trying to infringe trademark, I wanted to do a clever name, instead of I touch you, it's "itoucha" with i touch in there, it was a review site.

    But Amazon turned it down becaue it had the brand in the url
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    • Profile picture of the author davezan
      Originally Posted by dacahe View Post

      Great question, is there an attorney in the house?

      I know I tried to promote some Amazon products a while back and my domain name was itoucha.com

      I wasn't trying to infringe trademark, I wanted to do a clever name, instead of I touch you, it's "itoucha" with i touch in there, it was a review site.

      But Amazon turned it down becaue it had the brand in the url
      That actually been touched on here a couple of times, especially by lawyers like
      Kindsvater. Needless to say, adding an extra character does not necessarily get
      around possible TM infringement, especially if consumers will likely "confuse" your
      domain name with that of its trademark namesake.

      The more unique and famous the mark, the more likely any domain name bearing
      that will nonetheless be associated or confused with its source.
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  • Profile picture of the author 3bagsfull
    It is up to the trademark owner to manage his or her trademark. If he or she feels that someone else is misusing or hurting the companies image or effecting the business they can persue a legal injunction

    but, the owner must pursue it -- that is the catch

    plus, there is the concept of "fair use" -- example, a journalist uses a product name in a review or article, etc
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  • Profile picture of the author Ernie Mitchell
    I remember a thread similar to this one a couple of years ago (maybe longer) that took a much stronger position about dangers on trademark infringement.

    Unlike this thread, the earlier one carried a consensus opinion that many trademark holders are downright vicious about protecting their intellectual property and will sue your pants off with no quarter to simply surrender the domain and go on happily about your business.

    I got into a pickle a long time ago over a magazine article I wrote when I failed to recognize a trademarked product name. It won't happen again.

    Ernie Mitchell
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  • Profile picture of the author Targeted Traffic
    Unfortunately, you will be vulnerable to a lawsuit or a UDRP proceeding if you have been operating a website that infringes on someone's trademark. Copyright Infringement can kill a great domain and a great company when it does.
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  • Profile picture of the author sanjon
    as long as You are making money with the domain name, it is fine.
    If you get a notice or something better give the domain to the company.

    I had a website named after blackberry cellphones and was promoting offers from all over italy as an affiliate but later on things got messed up and I gave up on the domain name. I again copied all the HTML files [ I dont like wordpress] .
    Changed the Logo and I was up and running in a few hours again with a different domain..
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Originally Posted by sanjon View Post

      I had a website named after blackberry cellphones and was promoting offers from all over italy as an affiliate but later on things got messed up and I gave up on the domain name. Changed the Logo and I was up and running in a few hours again with a different domain..
      Cool, now explain why you bought the trademarked domain in the first place when you didn't need to and could switch over so easily? :rolleyes:

      Kind of defeats the whole object.
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  • Profile picture of the author NickCesarz
    Just to say my two cents... if I stumble upon a website with these types of domains, I probably won't buy from the site, unless it is a great deal. The name just sounds like an affiliate webpage. Besides, most websites like these (especially review pages) are always pointed towards profit and you can see this easily when you view the pages. Make sure you have good content if you are going to pick a domain name as such.
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  • Profile picture of the author mosthost
    Companies go after trademark infringement hard because failing to do could result in them losing their claim to the mark.

    To me the real villain is the domain registrars, who derive millions of dollars from trademark violations and then charge a 'clean up fee' if they receive a complaint. They could easily import the trademark database and stop people from registering them. Instead, they disclaim any responsibility once an incident is reported.

    One 'low cost' registrar charges $279 to 'clean up' a trademark domain like this, so be WARY.
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    • Profile picture of the author davezan
      Originally Posted by mosthost View Post

      To me the real villain is the domain registrars, who derive millions of dollars from trademark violations and then charge a 'clean up fee' if they receive a complaint. They could easily import the trademark database and stop people from registering them. Instead, they disclaim any responsibility once an incident is reported.

      One 'low cost' registrar charges $279 to 'clean up' a trademark domain like this, so be WARY.
      I'm very curious about this. Although I know Go Daddy tends to charge an admin
      fee for "legal research", as well as few registrars who cater to trademark parties,
      could you perhaps tell more even if just a PM?
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  • Profile picture of the author wtaylorjr2001
    I was going to buy a domain with the word iphone4 in it and namecheap would not let me do this without talking to a customer service rep who explained not that it was against the law, but that the company, in this case apple, could force me to delete the domain. I did not register that domain.
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