Similar domain name -- legal issues?

13 replies
If widgetstore.com is a store online, can I register widgetshop.com or are there legal considerations?
#domain #issues #legal #similar
  • Profile picture of the author datingworld
    Is the domain name trademarked?
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  • Profile picture of the author Ean Stark
    Nope.
    Go and register it before someone else sees this and does it.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    If widget is trademarked, you cannot use widget in any way without risking legal action. Even if it is not trademarked, it's not wise to use it because of "First Use In Commerce" gives the person who used it first trademark rights that they could enforce.

    Another factor is if your product is in the same category as the original site's product, you should find another domain.
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  • Profile picture of the author marax
    If "widget" is a brand name, you could face some problems.
    But if "widget" is a generic word, you will have a basis to hold your ground.
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  • If widget is trademarked, you cannot use widget in any way without risking legal action. Even if it is not trademarked, it's not wise to use it because of "First Use In Commerce" gives the person who used it first trademark rights that they could enforce.
    Can I register it and do nothing with it?

    So the person who uses "widget" first doesn't need to register a trademark for it?
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    • Profile picture of the author davezan
      Originally Posted by warriorforumrocks View Post

      Can I register it and do nothing with it?

      So the person who uses "widget" first doesn't need to register a trademark for it?
      Yes, though whether or not you'll still have issues is another story.

      Yes, a.k.a common-law trademark. Registration makes proving rights easier.

      If the other party is using commercially the actual term, then your intended use
      for the domain name is to "ride" on that term's use, then you can expect issues.
      Of course, that depends if the other party will notice - more so take action.
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      David

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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by warriorforumrocks View Post

      Can I register it and do nothing with it?

      So the person who uses "widget" first doesn't need to register a trademark for it?
      You can register it. No one will stop you, but if someone else is already doing business with it, they can file a UDRP to attempt to get it taken away from you. If you register it and are the first, to establish First Use in Commerce, you have to actually use it in commerce. If you are the first and want protection, you should trademark it. That provides the best federal protection.

      Bear in mind, if the word is being used in a different category than the trademark holder, you have a case to use it. They might still go after you, but they don't have as much standing. I wouldn't try it with the big boys though, like Facebook, etc. They tend to win their cases.
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  • Profile picture of the author davidaclark
    Originally Posted by warriorforumrocks View Post

    If widgetstore.com is a store online, can I register widgetshop.com or are there legal considerations?
    Usually, the more people using a name the least chance of objection. If a dozen people are using widget in their name or web address probably no problem. If only one person is using it, then you might get a legal challenge.

    I used to own a company called Cyborg Computers. We searched high and low for anyone else using the name Cyborg. The only one we found was Cyborg Systems in a different country and doing software rather than complete computers. They made us change our name as it was similar to theirs.

    A friend of mine lost his entire business fighting a name challenge. He had to start his business from scratch again.
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  • I have a couple different situations. (The domain names below are fake.)

    I've been doing business under widget-store.com for many years and I don't have a trademark. No other ecommerce site incorporates "widget" in their name. A large domain holder registered widget-shop.com a few years ago. It's for sale for $4K. Can I file a UDRP to have that domain transferred to me? Should I register a trademark first?

    A competitor has been doing business under fidget-shop.com for many years. I would be surprised if they had trademarked it. There are probably other ecommerce sites incorporating "fidget" in their name. I've registered fudget-shop.com and it sounds like they could probably take that away from me. Could they also make me pay them the domain's earnings or anything like that?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Gordon
      Originally Posted by warriorforumrocks View Post

      I have a couple different situations. (The domain names below are fake.)

      I've been doing business under widget-store.com for many years and I don't have a trademark. No other ecommerce site incorporates "widget" in their name. A large domain holder registered widget-shop.com a few years ago. It's for sale for $4K. Can I file a UDRP to have that domain transferred to me? Should I register a trademark first?

      A competitor has been doing business under fidget-shop.com for many years. I would be surprised if they had trademarked it. There are probably other ecommerce sites incorporating "fidget" in their name. I've registered fudget-shop.com and it sounds like they could probably take that away from me. Could they also make me pay them the domain's earnings or anything like that?
      I think it would benefit you greatly to have a consultation with a domain attorney. These are not the kinds of questions you should expect to be satisfactorily resolved in an open forum.

      Here is a place to start... Domain Name Attorneys
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      • Can anyone recommend a particular attorney for this?

        Is there any harm in trying to trademark "widget" now?
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  • Profile picture of the author Mary Popowa
    Example: Symbol brand owned by Motorolla

    They register this trademark in like 50 countries in the world and now they taking out all domains with "symbol" name in it.
    Same situation will be for you. If you register "widget" trademark in 50 countries in the world you can take away any names that contain "widget" in it.
    If you purchase "widget" in USA only and somebody purchase in UK, you have rights for this name only in USA.
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