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Is a Domain Name an Automatic Trademark?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the oh-the-fun-of-squatters dept.

Businesses 251

TheWorkingStiff writes "I registered a descriptive domain name (something like "thesimpledog.com") and started a blog on it. About a month later I get a threatening letter from a link farmer who owns "simpledog.com" The owner of simpledog.com is claiming that he owns the trademark to the words simpledog even though he has no real business or rights by that name other than a static page with some text and Adsense slapped on it. There is no product, service or brand whatsoever. Does simply registering a two or three word domain give you instant trademark rights to those words even though you've never done anything with them? Should I give up my domain to a link farmer who is trying to bully me, or does he have a valid right to any phrase he registers that isn't already trademarked?"

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Automatic Trademark? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230175)

No such thing. Laugh at him, ask for his trademark registration details and date.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230203)

Since when do you have to register in order to have a valid trademark. If he's trading under that mark then he has an arguable case for having a trademark (TM) as opposed to a Registered Trademark (R).

P.S. Please don't post further misleading advice under the esteemed Anonymous Coward label. You'll bring it into disrepute.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (3, Interesting)

Jezz (267249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230329)

I don't see this - a domain name isn't a trade mark. I think people often forget it's just a bit of network technology that happens to be helpful to humans, conceptually not much different to a file name. Consider if I was called "Mr Ford", and I'd registered "ford.org" am I infringing on the Ford Motor Company's TM? Personally I don't think so, if I started selling automotive goods then I can see that would change, but otherwise no.

The other domain is being stupid (deliberately so I think). If it's just a page with AdSense stuff on in then I can't see any connection to a business that would be hurt by confusion. (actually as I see it, the exact opposite is true!)

Re:Automatic Trademark? (4, Insightful)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230803)

You're technically correct but only that. The argument doesn't apply to the real world in which we have legal systems and laws, trademarks, fair use, etc.
Likewise a business name is just a bit of marketing that happens to be helpful to humans for branding puroses, conceptually not different to a person name for identification.
Also technically correct, but cannot stand on its own in the real world.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230523)

From the post description it doesn't sound like he is trading in anything but ads.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230603)

Unless he has a registered trademark, or a well known business name (he has neither) he's just trying to scare you. As someone else said, ask for his trademark rego details, plus his registered business name and address. That'll scare him off unless he's legit.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231481)

You need to stop posting about legal issues because you haven't a clue. You need to register a trademark in order to have any legal ground to stand on. Period. You have to at least register it in your state and if you want protection nationally(and possibly internationally), then you have to register it with the feds. No question about it. Otherwise one could simply make a generic corporation and dream up every potential trademark-able phrase and sue for infringement when someone stumbles on it. Instead it requires about $375 for each mark.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (4, Insightful)

Bob Gelumph (715872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230205)

It wouldn't matter if he did have a trademark.
It would cover his area of business, not an unrelated blog. There is no way that somebody would find the sites "confusingly similar."
The guy's just trying to introduce a second revenue stream from his link farm. If anything, I think your site would increase traffic to his site, when people type it wrong.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (5, Interesting)

Xuranova (160813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230237)

Tell that to this guy: http://nissan.com/ [nissan.com]

Re:Automatic Trademark? (2, Interesting)

Bob Gelumph (715872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230303)

This case is clearly different in that the Nissan case relied on Nissan Motor being considered famous by 1994. Neither party in this case is famous.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (3, Interesting)

Xuranova (160813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230411)

Neither is indeed famous but all you said was:

"It would cover his area of business, not an unrelated blog. There is no way that somebody would find the sites "confusingly similar."

Nissan Computer sales and Nissan Autos are in totally unrelated businesses. Nissan just had the money to make it irrelevant.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (3, Informative)

shystershep (643874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230979)

Being famous does matter: the owner of a famous mark can sue for 'dilution' of that mark. A mark that isn't famous, you have to prove actual confusion (and therefore some sort of overlap in business).

Re:Automatic Trademark? (2, Interesting)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230779)

Tell that to this guy: http://nissan.com/ [nissan.com]

Quite a story. That guy needs a sharper, tougher lawyer.

Question: id his case is so solid, why hasn't he sued Nissan?

Re:Automatic Trademark? (5, Informative)

conlaw (983784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231223)

Actually, you need to RTFO (O=opinion). The Ninth Circuit opinion, which Nissan Computers links to in his long tale of woe, said that Nissan Computers could keep its nissan.com website and continue to use its trademarked name of Nissan Computers. However, what it could not do was continue to solicit ads from automobile-related companies, because those ads could cause confusion among people searching for Nissan cars.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (0)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230245)

Scan and post the letter here. For the lulz.

Re:Automatic Trademark? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230477)

When I got a registered trademark the requirements were:
1. It had to be used in interstate commerce - in other words I had to do business in more than one state.
2. I had to do business.

  I don't know if link farming is a trade or business but lets assume that it is. If you are not in the link farming business then your trademark is likely not infringing on his trademark. Moreover, even if you are in the link farming business if you don't have overlapping market areas then you don't have a problem. I think the guy is blowing smoke up your skirt - but if he hires a lawyer you may have to hire a lawyer.

  I had a clear case of trademark infringement where I owned a trademark and a competitor just a mile or so away took my mark and added a state to it and started doing business under that name. My extremely good lawyer told me to buy the name from him because it would cost me $ 2,500 minimum to go court. I bought the name for $500 so I saved $2,000. I would have won the court case but I would have spent more money. Just some practical advice from someone that has actually been there.

  BTW I used to have an BBS company that had a name with a word that was also used by a famous computer company who changed their name in the late 1990s. After sniffing around a little bit asking me how long I had used that name they left me alone. I had it before they changed their name. I guess what I am trying to say is that is it not hopeless but it might be expensive. Learn to fight the right fights. This may or may not be the right fight.

Ask him how he is using the mark (2, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231165)

Ask him in what area of trade he is asserting the mark and to prove that he's used the mark in those areas or that he demonstrated his intent to use the mark in that area prior to your first use.

Unless it's a made-up word he can't prevent the same word from being used in other areas of trade.

If his use doesn't conflict with the way you intend to use it, you both can use it and both trademark the term.

If your uses conflict, whoever took steps to establish the trademark for that particular usage first wins.

Unless you are using the term for domain-parking, I don't see you having any conflict.

Have your lawyer send him a "put up or shut up" letter.

Heck NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230177)

Put the Dogs On him

Why do (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230183)

these retarded questions get through the lameness filter? You get a trademark if you file one with http://www.uspto.gov/ [uspto.gov] or whatever your countries trademark bureau is.

Well (5, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230191)

Question: Is a Domain Name an Automatic Trademark?

Answer: Ask a lawyer not Slashdot.

Re:Well (5, Informative)

rnswebx (473058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230307)

Or, just visit the USPTO [uspto.gov] documentation relating to this. Essentially, it boils down to this:

A mark composed of a domain name is registrable as a trademark or service mark only if it functions as a source identifier. The mark as depicted on the specimens must be presented in a manner that will be perceived by potential purchasers as indicating source and not as merely an informational indication of the domain name address used to access a web site.


Looks pretty clear to me.

Re:Well (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230387)

Alternatively, just to muddy the waters a bit:)

A word or an expression must be registered before it becomes a trademark. Such a registration pays for eg the bureaucratic check that nobody else already owns a similar trademark. Only legal entities who have paid for a trademark from the appropriate body have a right and obligation to trademark protection within the jurisdiction of that body.

There are nearly two hundred countries in the world, and each of these countries has a body responsible for trademarks within that country, although many countries have treaties to recognize each others trademarks under the Berne convention, but clashes are also possible and common.

Since there is no international body which has trademark jurisdiction over the entire world, there can be no rule about trademarks and domain name ownership.

And that's why theyz payz them thar eyepee lawyas da big bucks.

Re:Well (1)

grishnav (522003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230471)

Incorrect, at least in the US. Trademarks work more or less like copyright; they are automatic upon use of the mark to trade goods or services (service marks).

Registering does have several advantages (again, in the same vein as copyright) over not registering: Nationwide presumption, ability to bring suits in federal courts, etc.

When you register a trademark, it is no longer a simple trademark, but a "registered trademark", denoted by a (r) rather than a (tm).

If I recall, it's also pretty difficult to win registration for a mark.

More info: http://www.uspto.gov/web/trademarks/workflow/start.htm [uspto.gov]

Re:Well (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230711)

Thanks for the clarification. I was thinking of registered trademarks, I don't think there's any point in simple (unregistered) trademarks. Since someone else can just register it at any time, having an (unregistered) trademark is effectively the same as having nothing at all.

This would be slightly different with copyright. Once a work is published, there's a clear case of plagiarism if someone else decides to duplicate it or independently assert some rights over it.

Re:Well (1)

alphaFlight (26589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230813)

I don't think there's any point in simple (unregistered) trademarks. Since someone else can just register it at any time, having an (unregistered) trademark is effectively the same as having nothing at all.
An unregistered trademark has the force of law behind it. You can sue someone for trademark infringement based on an unregistered mark. As stated earlier, registering simply provides certain advantages. If anyone tries to register your unregistered trademark you have the right to oppose or cancel the registration.

Why "ask a lawyer" responses aren't too useful (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230619)

Ask a lawyer not Slashdot.
OK, I'll rephrase: "Has any of you asked a lawyer about this? I'd like to understand what I'm getting into so that I can make the best of my time with a lawyer."

Re:Well (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230673)

What are "instant trademark rights", anyway? Either you have a trademark (in a territory) or you don't. If you don't, you get to STFU. If you do, is someone infringing upon it, or not. If they're not, again you get to sit down and shut up.

Re:Well (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231395)

As long as you don't defame anybody with a similar name or product with similar name you shouldn't have to give up your domain name. In the Nissan case it's clear that there are two completely different entities with equal right and completely different businesses then it's clear that it's first come first served. Any conflict here should have been handled as a business agreement "We pay you to link to our site" instead of legal action.

It will be a different case if they can prove that they held the domain name before and "lost" it for some reason. Then it can be a question of ambiguity that should be settled using third part.

To just file lawsuits to get a domain name isn't helping at all - it will make them look stupid. If they instead told that they were interested in buying the domain from you it could have been a different case, but in all you as the holder can still refuse to sell.

No, it's not trademarked (5, Informative)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230197)

No. You cannot have a trademark just by virtue of owning a domain name. A "trademark" is one's distinctive mark within a trade, and since this person has no product, there is no trade. Trademark laws exist to protect consumers from purchasing or using one product when they meant to purchase or use another. You would have a problem if you tried to imitate the other site. Obviously, this isn't the case, so you're in the clear.

The troll is just being a troll. Don't give in.

Re:No, it's not trademarked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230257)

since this person has no product, there is no trade.
If you would care to go back and read the article, I'm sure you'll notice that it clearly says he's selling ad space. Obviously that is a trade.

Re:No, it's not trademarked (1)

CptnHarlock (136449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230281)

And since they're not in the same "trade" the submiter should be in the clear. See also Unix firextinguisher and more [bell-labs.com] .

Cheers...

Re:No, it's not trademarked (1)

ydrol (626558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230615)

A "trademark" is one's distinctive mark within a trade,

Like "Blue Magic"..

Re:No, it's not trademarked (1)

reset_button (903303) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231259)

Awesome movie, but probably too early for most people to get :)

Sucker (5, Funny)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230213)

I'm registering www.tehsimpledog.com as well as www.thesimpledog.net.

Evil laughter.

In a word - no! (1)

DrMindWarp (663427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230225)

You don't mention your jurisdiction but the broad answer is no. More details would need to be known to establish if there was any legal conflict, e.g. passing-off, but clearly there is a registered trade mark system and there are domain names. While they may give rise to conflict on occasion one does not replace the other.

So trademark it for real (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230227)

Then sue the fucker. For real.

 

Trademarks (5, Informative)

GhengisCohen (778368) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230229)

First of all, have you looked up his trademark at uspto.gov to make sure he has one. The USPTO is really leary to give a trademark on something that ends in .com now-a-days.

It would also be interesting to see what catagory he filed under.
You can file a trademark in any one of several categories (about 23). So you too could have a trademark on the same word and it would not conflict (eg. Ford Florists and the Ford Motor Company both have a trademark on Ford, but since the name use would not cause market confusion, they are both ok).

If the category is bogus (some technology one might be ok for him to use) you might be able to get the USPTO to force him to prove the use of his trademark in commerce.

Also if you were using the trademark before he filed, you should be ok by law, but anecdotal evidence shows that you will still lose your domain.

On a related point trademarks can be filed in more than one country, so what country trumps what country if there is a conflict? (I guess since .com is supposed to be a US thing it would be subject to US law first.

I have seen no discussion on this.

I am not a lawyer do not take this as legal advice. It's not. It's the ramblings of someone who holds a few trademarks himself.

Re:Trademarks (4, Informative)

damsa (840364) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230277)

You don't need to register to get trademark protection. You get protection by simply using the name in commerce. That's the TM mark. You may register with either the state or with the USPTO once you register you fet the circle R mark. Simpledog.com is probably not using the name in commerce. Also the OP probably cannot register because he currently does not have a product. You must use the product first and then register. insert standard this is not legal advice here.

Re:Trademarks (3, Informative)

hyc (241590) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230515)

Close. Only Federally registered marks are allowed to use the (R) mark. You can register at the state level but that's essentially meaningless; there are no laws giving you any particular protection for those.

I happen to know all of this because I went thru the legwork of registering my band name "Highland Sun" with the USPTO. A horse ranch somewhere in Kentucky (IIRC) wrote me a letter claiming I was infringing on their name "Highland Sun Farms", registered in their state and I wrote back essentially (1) we're not in similar businesses, no one will ever get us confused and (2) mine is Federal, yours is state; if you want to push this, you'll lose. They went away.

Re:Trademarks (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230825)

You don't need to register to get trademark protection. You get protection by simply using the name in commerce. That's the TM mark. You may register with either the state or with the USPTO once you register you fet the circle R mark. Simpledog.com is probably not using the name in commerce. Also the OP probably cannot register because he currently does not have a product. You must use the product first and then register. insert standard this is not legal advice here.

I'll insert my knowledge from when I claimed "FreeDOS" as a trademark [freedos.org] in 2001. (Although I now believe there is no difference between "typed drawing" of "FreeDOS" and "FREEDOS" in this context.)

I had once considered applying for a registered trademark, which is ® not TM, but the issue is tricky. I think I have come to a reasonable understanding of trademarks in the US. First of all, to apply for a registered trademark (®) in the US, you need to pay a fee to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Even the small entity fee for basic filing is pretty expensive.

Also, there is the issue of diligence ... if the mark holder fails to prosecute or take action, the mark can be found in a court to be unprotected and open for use. There are other ways to lose a mark, as well.

There are several ways to dispute use of a trademark by a third party. Depending on the situation, the Trademark Office may not be the proper forum. [uspto.gov] For a real trademark fight, you would need an attorney, preferably one specializing in trademark law. And since inaction would imply that you are giving up the right on the trademark, time to get that lawyer can be of the essence.

However, it is not necessary to register a mark with the USPTO order to claim it as a trademark. From the USPTO: "Any time you claim rights in a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO."

Federal registration is not required to establish rights in a trademark. Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark. Generally, the first to either use a mark in commerce or file an intent to use application with the Patent and Trademark Office has the ultimate right to use an registration.

The other guy is probably doing this because he believes it is what he has to do to protect his trademark. But I don't know that there's a trademark to be protected, since there's nothing really behind it. IANAL, but if he's just using the domain name to run a link farm, and isn't actually doing anything with the name "simpledog" (he has no content on his site ... every link that looks like it would have content just serves up ads from EBay and the like) then I doubt he has much ground to stand on.

Asking him for his USPTO registration number (as other posters have advised) isn't a good way to ensure if he has the right of trademark, since you don't need to register to use "TM". However, you can respond by asking for demonstrable proof for how he has used "simpledog" in a commerce-related activity related to an actual product. You can back yourself by stating in your written response that you do not consider a link farm with no original content to be an actual product (this will make it harder for him to get a lawyer involved, I think.)

Don't roll over on this. If you do, then you'll demonstrate by inaction that he holds the trademark on "simpledog" and he may further pester you by demanding you turn over your domain to him. If he gets a lawyer involved and that lawyer sends a Cease and Desist letter, then you'll have to make a decision if you want to fight by hiring your own lawyer. Or maybe you'll make an announcement on your web site at that time, that you're shutting down the site for an unrelated reason (no time to admin it, etc.)

But honestly, I suspect that this guy won't bother you after you send back your "no thanks" response.

Re:Trademarks (1)

eonlabs (921625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231069)

Also, think of the free advertising you just provided him by dumping his name on slashdot. There's no such thing as bad publicity when you're already a dick. How much traffic does that guy's site have? Instant gratification.

I'm sure the phrase http://www.ihateyouall.com/ [ihateyouall.com] isn't trademarked yet, but the site has been there for almost four years now, if I remember correctly. That won't stop me from saying I Hate You All for the stupid things people do.

Slashdot: Still not a lawyer, no matter how many times you ask

Re:Trademarks (1)

thefinite (563510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231167)

And just having a trademark on the Internet doesn't mean that you are the only one who gets to us that name on the Internet. Different products in different industries can use the same name as a trademark. Ritz crackers and the Ritz hotels both get to have webpages with the word Ritz in them. One other thing, unless your website is actually about a simple dog, it's probably not a descriptive mark.

Re:Trademarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230503)

.com was supposed to be an international thing, its just a [subset of] Amercians who assumed [The United States of] America is the world abused it instead of using .co.us.

Re:Trademarks (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230535)

(I guess since .com is supposed to be a US thing it would be subject to US law first.
Since when is the international domain for commerce supposed to be a US thing? Do you guys think you've cornered the market or something...

Re:Trademarks (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230665)

Hey, it's our internet. We are just letting the rest of the world use it too.

Re:Trademarks (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230685)

He might even be able to register "thesimpledog" and then claim the simpledog.com infringes him! Still simpledog.com is a sleazy link farm, but they are on the air, thesimpledog.com doesn't even have a domain-holder site on the net, so he's going to have to get something going soon. Some how I imagine if he told those cretins to send all future correspondence to his lawyer's office, the whole thing would just go away. If your running a site based on the premise that people will make a mistake in the URL and you can profit off it, it's not to big of a leap to imagine that if you send out a bogus but vaguely threatening letter, that the recipient might just roll over and play dead.

No (1)

BeCre8iv (563502) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230233)

Ignore the troll - The offence is one of 'passing off' so if you are not using the similar domain with the intent of passing off your site as the plaintiffs you are in the clear.

The (notable) precident is NTHell.com which recieved a similar C+D notice. When it came to court, it was judged that a site for disgruntled consumers to slate NTL and their poor service could not (and was not intended) to be confused with NTL.com

Re:No (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230525)

This doesn't sound like a troll: this sounds like a domain squatter, either hitting you up for a chunk of money, or preserving the name to sell it to someone who *will* give him a chunk of money.

Can you afford a polite conversation with a laywer, and a bit of work tracking what this clown's real business is? His "whois" information for his domains should provide some contact details, and if those are invalid, you can get *his* domain cancelled for providing false contact information.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230625)

Assuming that ICANN, supported by all the slashdot readers desperately defending their privacy, don't do away with Whois of course...

Don't feed the spamming scum (5, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230239)

How To Draw a Simple Dog
Easy Tricks To Teach Your Simple Dog
Free Doghouse Plans Online for Simpletons

The page simpledog.com is one of those totally automated junk advertising pages, obviously with a picture of a dog.
Now you know this, you won't be at all curious about going there.

A shitty database-made spammy advert webpage won't give you any weight in a trademark dispute.

ridiculous. (3, Informative)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230259)

Do you think www.whitehouse.com (Extremely NSFW in case you've never heard) - would exist if the good folks at www.whitehouse.gov had any legal recourse?

Re:ridiculous. (3, Funny)

rking (32070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230271)

Do you think www.whitehouse.com (Extremely NSFW in case you've never heard) - would exist if the good folks at www.whitehouse.gov had any legal recourse?
The folks at whitehouse.gov don't want to make the case that they're trading under that name. In court they'd tend to actively claim that they're not for sale. Hence no trademark issue.

White House goods and services (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230637)

The folks at whitehouse.gov don't want to make the case that they're trading under that name. In court they'd tend to actively claim that they're not for sale.
The White House can offer to sell goods and services without any hint of political corruption. They're called a gift shop [whitehousegiftshop.com] and tours [whitehouse.gov] .

Re:ridiculous. (4, Informative)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230367)

Have you been out to www.whitehouse.com [whitehouse.com] lately? They've turned into a clearinghouse for the '08 candidates, both Rep & Dem.

No, really, they have.

They're even running political polls. Granted the last one, from the 8th of October, was "Should George W. Bush be impeached?" and the current one is "Does The Media Favor One Party Over Another In It's Reporting?", but the days of being NSFW seem to be over.

At least until cadidates have been picked. : )

Re:ridiculous. (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230679)

On the Web page of www.whitehouse.com:

This site is neither affiliated nor endorsed by the US Government
The original Website had this notice conspicuously missing (at least throughout Bush's reign of terror; not sure 'bout during the Clinton years).

I would suppose that http://www.whitehouse.org/ [whitehouse.org] would be the (un)official word from the White House (since it has a dot org tld).

Postscript:
For those unaware, www.whitehouse.com used to have naked woman on their site. But now unfortunately the Web appears to be more and more a place for politics instead of pornography :(

Re:ridiculous. (1)

azrider (918631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230981)

For those unaware, www.whitehouse.com used to have naked woman on their site. But now unfortunately the Web appears to be more and more a place for politics instead of pornography :(
Whats the difference?

Re:ridiculous. (1)

ChadAmberg (460099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231409)

The difference? Old men pictures (including hillary) vs young hot babe pictures. Yeah, that's about the only difference. Besides that both are scripted very very badly. Porn does have better music most of the time though.

DO NOT GO TO THAT SITE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230817)

Parent links to scat porn.

Re:ridiculous. (5, Funny)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230923)

They're just diversifying which whores get on their site.

Re:ridiculous. (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230931)

I was actually at work when I posted that...

Ergo, I didn't check.

Re:ridiculous. (1)

untree (851145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230977)

I think you are referring to www.whitehouse.org [whitehouse.org] rather than .com.

Standard Response to Frivolous Disputes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230295)

Refer him to the response to Mr Arkell, in the case of Arkell vs Pressdram 1971.

I wouldn't even answer (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230339)

Why would you answer and confirm your email address to someone who is about the same as a spammer?

No, but... (5, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230351)

Honestly, I'd just asking him for the USPTO serial/registration number for his trademark (and obviously search the uspto web site to verify it). If he has one, he's shown he actually cares about it, plus he's got all the paperwork he needs to dispute your domain with ICANN. Do you really want to spend time and money fighting at that point?

But of course he doesn't have one, so just asking will show him you're not just going to hand over a domain because you got a nasty email, which is what he's expecting. If he tries to quickly file the papers, he'll discover that just owning a domain name is not enough to even file for a trademark, much less get one. He'll have to find other uses of it (prior to yours) to complete the paperwork, and if his site is just a link farm it's questionable whether even his web site would qualify.

Misspellings (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230381)

If this were true than google would sue the owners of goggle.com and other such misspellings along with almost everyone else who owns a popular enough website.

Not even a real business or site (5, Funny)

markdavis (642305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230417)

simpledog.com isn't even a real website or business operating anything dog related. It is yet another one of those fake, front-end search sites.

If I were you, I would just ignore them or send them a "get lost" type letter. Or better yet, send them a letter that LOOKS like a real response, but is titled "legal response to your letter (legalresponses.com)" and then lists:

Click here for legal aid
Click here for legal forms
Click here for responses
Click here for more info about letters
Click here for improve your writing skills
Click here for related searches about legalresponses
(c) 2007 legalresponses.com . . . about us

Re:Not even a real business or site (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230483)

simpledog.com isn't even a real website or business operating anything dog related. It is yet another one of those fake, front-end search sites.

Did you guys miss the part in the summary where he says "something like thesimpledog.com"? The use of the word like in there indicates that this isn't the actual thing, but something similar to it. There are quite a few responses here basing your answers on the appearance of the example website which isn't the site he's actually talking about.

Re:Not even a real business or site (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231043)

Yep, I missed that part. Sorry! That is what I get for replying to something so early in the morning.

Here's are similar cases with federal court ruling (4, Interesting)

Alex Ethridge (985475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230459)

He does not own nor can he own a trademark unless it is registered. Secondly, you cannot own a trademark to words that are too simple, such as ABC Computer. I think SimpleDog would come into this category of simple names. It's just too common. There was kid named Mike Rowe who was a software developer. He registered the domains MikeRoweSoft.com and MikeRoweSoft.net. Microsoft threatened and sued and lost. They finally did what they should have in the first place. They bought the names from this highschool kid.

There was also a man named McDonald who was also a software developer. You guessed it. He registered McDonalds.com and .net before McDonald's Hamburgers did. McDonald's sued and lost and finally bought the name from Mr. McDDonald.

Here's an article: http://msl1.mit.edu/furdlog/?m=20040306 [mit.edu]
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled that Michelle Grosse did not violate the law when she used the *name of Lucas Nursery and Landscaping Inc* in her domain name for a Web site she created to complain about the Canton, MI nursery.

Re:Here's are similar cases with federal court rul (1)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230491)

I think generally it's accepted that you have to be using the domain, otherwise it's assumed your a squatter.

Re:Here's are similar cases with federal court rul (4, Informative)

Samurai Cat! (15315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230507)

Not true on the MickeyD's domain.

That was a reporter for Wired magazine Joshua Quittner, who, back in the early days of the net (1994), noticed that McDonalds had not registered McDonalds.com. So he himself registered it, contacted the company, and documented the whole thing, prior to giving the domain to McDonalds.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.10/mcdonalds.html [wired.com]

Re:Here's are similar cases with federal court rul (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231021)

So he himself registered it, contacted the company, and documented the whole thing, prior to giving the domain to McDonalds.

      It's rumored that a few months later McDonalds offered him a serving of large french fries.

nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230519)

The only way he has a case is if:

1. He has an actual blog at simpledog.com AND
2. He has actually registered a trademark for simpledog.

It's common for people to forget that trademarks only cover one area of business. I could make Coke Computers, and even though Coca Cola Corp would not be happy, there is nothing they could do. Their trademark only covers beverages.

IANAL.

Your answer is here in the yellow pages. (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230521)

http://theyellowpages.com/index.php [theyellowpages.com] vs.http://www.yellowpages.com/?From=Branding_ypbrnd_yellowpages vs. http://yellowpages.msn.com/ [msn.com]
vs. http://www.yellow.com/ [yellow.com] vs. http://www.yp.com/ [yp.com] vs. http://www.authoryellowpages.com/ [authoryellowpages.com] vs. http://yellowpages.washingtonpost.com/ [washingtonpost.com]
vs. http://www.yellowpages.ca/ [yellowpages.ca] vs. http://www.musicyellowpages.com/ [musicyellowpages.com] vs......

Oh hell do a google and check it out for your self.

No (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230547)

www.nissan.com [nissan.com]

Don't be a pussy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230551)

Go to his home, slaughter his family before his eyes, torture him to death, kill all of his friends and neighbours and their relatives, set fire to his house, their houses and to all those near by.

That's the way you do it.

Oh, I hope CNet isn't watching this... (1)

shumacher (199043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230593)

Just wait until they start sending notices based on their ownership of com.com.

Re:Oh, I hope CNet isn't watching this... (1)

Pazy (1169639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230653)

Are Cnet now buying any address with the meerest relation to there stuff?

Groklaw: Info on Trademarks (5, Informative)

richg74 (650636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230623)

There is a Groklaw page [groklaw.net] that has a pretty good summary of the law (in the USA) regarding trademarks.

As others have said, you have to use the name in a trade or business in order to claim it as a trademark, although you do not have to register it with the USPTO; registering the trademark does provide you with some additional legal advantages.

The Groklaw page has a number of useful links that provide more in-depth information.

Trademarks (1)

c1ay (703047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230645)

Try the same question on the forums at Findlaw.com [findlaw.com] to get some input from the legal sector...

I wonder (1)

stevedmc (1065590) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230655)

I wonder how many cool domains I could get if I just added "the" to a popular url resulting in something like "thewhitehouse.com".

I have a cunning plan.. (1)

streetphantom (1075615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230667)

Change your surname to "Simpledog".

Register your domain name first (1)

birdguy (130777) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230697)

Why not register thesimpledog.com first then send him a nasty C&D email?

Trademarks have capital letters? (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230717)

Normally you have to use a capital letter to denote a trademark. So if I say windows it's not referring to the OS. If I say Windows it is.

Of course domains don't use uppercase, so this is where the ambiguity is.

"Real" words can't be copyrighted (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230719)

I'd send them a response with two words in it. The second word would be "off".

The reason why people use fake words like "Kwik" and "Kleen" is that you can't trademark real words. You combined two real words. Tell the domain squatter to go squat on something pointy.

They're a troll... (1)

tkid (821402) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230727)

who probably doesn't know any laws concerning trademark or copyright. Mark his email threats as spam and ignore them and move on with your life.

Until you see the suit (1)

stonemetal (934261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230747)

If he hasn't actually sued you yet or sent you a legal C&D, then he is just full of hot air ignore it until it goes away or gets serious.

Call his bluff (1)

Spleen (9387) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230801)

I'm no lawyer, but I believe you can copyright something without registering it. You must register and defend a trademark. Unless he provides documention of his registration, I would just ignore him. Actually, I'd ask him why he's whining about you making him money. By blogging on a name similar to his, you essentially made his domain into a more profitable typo squat domain.

Send him a two word reply... (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230819)

...and make one of the words "off". He's probably just looking for money. If he actually has a case his lawyers will get in touch.

ICANN resolution? (1)

pinguwin (807635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230845)

I thought the ICANN resolution process was made relatively simple so that people from rich countries couldn't walk all over people from poor ones. Now before you abuse me on that notion, that's what I thought it was meant originally, I didn't say that's what it turned out to be :-).

somewhat similar experience (5, Interesting)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230871)

WARNING: IANAL. And you really should talk to one. Nevertheless...

I had a somewhat similar experience a few years ago. A domain that I registered and was using for personal projects attracted the attention of lawyers from Shieldmark [shieldmark.nl] , who asserted that I'd registered it in bad faith, and demanded that I turn over ownership of my domain to their client or face an arbitration proceeding according to the rules of ICANN's UDRP [icann.org] process. In Belgium.

In the interest of fairness, I should say that their client did have registered trademarks on the phrase that made up my domain name. On the other hand, their trademark specifically addressed the realm of agricultural products, and... well, let's just say I'm not in the agriculture business.

I sent them a polite letter back saying that while their client had my sympathies, I had registered the domain in good faith, was actively using it, and that if they initialed a UDRP against me, they'd lose. And that was the last I heard of it.

The situation here is different: this guy apparently has no claim on this domain other than the fact that your domain sounds kinda like one of the many he owns. Given that, I'd first talk to a lawyer, then do what I did: write a polite letter suggesting he pound sand.

This story.. (4, Funny)

RealityThreek (534082) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230887)

.. is just someone trying to get hits on simpledog.com. He's playing us all for fools.

domain name (1)

ralph1 (900228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230913)

when you register a domain name a search is to be done if it is already in use so who ever you got your name from is who i would sue.

Use of a trademark is the key factor (2, Interesting)

cenonce (597067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230919)

Trademark rights are acquired by use, not necessarily by filing an application in your country's Trademark Office and definitely not by reserving a domain name. The USPTO has made it very clear that registering a domain name is meaningless to show use of a trademark in commerce. Trademarks must be used in commerce on goods or services. You do not just "get a trademark" on everything under the sun because you start using the name. That is because there is only confusion (or, the true standard, likelihood of confusion) if similar marks are used on similar goods or services. Now, there is an exception to that for "famous marks". Owners of famous marks can stop people from using similar marks on just about anything through a theory called "dilution". Recent amendments to the U.S. Trademark Act (a.k.a Lanham Act) make it very difficult to have a mark meet the standard of being "famous". Basically, you have to be a Coca-Cola, Apple Computer, or Hard Rock Cafe to get that kind of status (and even then, YOU have to prove it, you don't simply file something and "get it").

So, if he is using the trademark, I'd love to know on what? Registering a domain name and tossing up a pre-made "click through" ad page, in my mind, would not count. (He could argue that he is providing some type of advertising service, but there is a lot of room to argue on that one). Even then, if you are using the mark on " a blog providing news and information in the field of open source software", those two services are not really related. It would be the same as saying Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets (essentially identical marks) cannot co-exists. Obviously, they do and have for years.

Go see a trademark lawyer... that is obviously the smartest thing to do. Most will at least meet with you for a half-hour or an hour at no charge.

Automatic Trademark???? (1)

TW Atwater (1145245) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230933)

Tell him to go pound sand.

Trademarks have to be used to remain valid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231003)

IANAL and all that, but my understanding of trademarks (registered or not) is that:

1) The owner must establish the term and build awareness that those words represent a certain product/service
2) The product has to distinct from any other product using the term so that a reasonable person would never confuse the two (i.e., clearly different industries)
3) The owner has to maintain public awareness continue using those terms in a consistent manner

So, for example, I can't simply claim Kleenex as a trademark or use it to represent my tissue company. But I could try to establish it for a construction company (though that would invite a beatdown from some corporate lawyers). You can claim anything you want as a trademark, but the test is whether the government agrees that those words represent your goods and whether they think you are trying to confuse the consumer.

Shakedown (0)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231037)

The person who is sending you the letter is probably setting you up to buy the domain from him. Typical domain hoarder:

  1. register domains.
  2. list them for sale.
  3. wait until someone registers the name and uses it.
  4. use legal system to attempt shake down.
  5. profit?

I am not a lawyer, but clearly the answer is ... (1, Redundant)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231089)

... maybe.

Go see a lawyer. You can get a free initial consultation from many of them.

Here is some more free advice : Don't trust the free legal advice you get on slash dot. At
lease half of the posters have no clue, and you have no idea which half.

Answer is: maybe (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231181)

Step 1: Did the link farmer claim to have a trademark on his site? That is, was his logo followed by a "TM" or an "R" in a circle? The mere use of a name does not confer a trademark, nor does asserting it in private email. You have to publicly claim a trademark on it and notify those who see it that you're claiming trademark status.

For fun, check out http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm [uspto.gov] and click "search" over in the right-hand box.

Step 2: How strong is the trademark? A mark like Exxon is extremely strong. It has no existance except for the oil company. If you use "exxon" in any context you're probably violating the mark.

"Simpledog" is the concatenation of two english words. Its already weak. Next its use seems to be for a link farm with generic search links about dogs. Weak weak weak. If he had a trademark it would probably only extend to the use of "simpledog" for a link farming page. Everything else (including a blog) would probably fall outside the trademark. If he had one to begin with.

Personally, I'd search the PTO for a trademark registration and then register it myself if I didn't find one. Ignroe the fellow (don't reply) until the registration is granted. Then send him a registered letter advising him that if he doesn't give up the name on which you have a registered mark, you'll sue.

Of course, that's not the end of the story and just 'cause he can't win doesn't mean he can't sue you in some geographically inconvenient location. So if you worried, you need to visit a local lawyer.

My experience (1)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231363)

A started a web portal KnowledgeBooks.com about 9 years ago and started the process of getting a trademark for KnowledgeBooks - this process was interrupted when I took a job at Ben Goertzel's startup AI company. Years later, I noticed that someone else had applied for a trademark, I protested this since I had been using KnowledgeBooks for years, and I don't think the other person received the trademark.

It is better to get a trademark - in my case I payed the fee, but got tired of jumping through the hoops to get a trademark - my bad on that one.
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