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Someone Pluraled my name and is using it for a gateway Trademark

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by VisionTilt, Jul 20, 2004.

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  1. VisionTilt

    VisionTilt Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm not sure if I have any recourse here, or if I do what it would be?

    I own a domain where I sell products, for an example, lets call it.... www.yourwidget.com

    Well... somebody has now taken www.yourwidgets.com and they are using it as a page to serve up google and adsense results of things in my industry, this includes my adwords, as well as my competitions ads.

    I have my name trademarked.. But the person who registered this site is in Israel.

    Is there anything I can do?

    Thanks.
     
  2. zraii

    zraii New Member

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    Lemme start off by saying i have no legal experience at all, this is just my opinion.

    First, if your trademark is only a state registered trademark then it's deffinetly ok. If you have a National Trademark I think it's still ok since the guy is out of the country and you would have to hold an international trademark (which I believe is a very costly thing to obtain because you need lawyers and all sorts of stuff to prove that you were the first person to ever use that name)

    My guess is that you have absolutely no recourse.. Domain names are the right of anyone to buy. It would have been a good idea to have bought every imaginable variation of the domain name that you could think of... There are plenty of examples where someone should have atleast bought the .net, .com, and .org of a domain (ie. whitehouse.org, a government spoof site, and whitehouse.com, a porn site). you'll notice sometimes if you mistype a websites name (ebay.com, google.com, yahoo.com) you'll end up in a totally different place because people have exploited your likeliness to mistype. You'll even notice things like irs.com, which you would expect to be the government webpage for taxes, is actually a website owned by H&R Block for profit.

    My non-professional opinion is that you're out of luck...best thing you might do is watch the whois records of the domain incase he ever forgets to renew it and you can buy it out from under him. You might even be able to pay him to host a link to your site...i'm sure he wouldn't mind a little profit and if you feel you are really losing customers due to his website it might be a good idea.. You could even offer him a price per click over from his site which might encourage him to even advertise in your favor for his own profits which will of course result in your profits.. Also, if he is using your name (yourwidget.com) on his website instead of his real website name with the plural you might be able to get him since that starts to play into actual deception rather than just a customer's typing or reading error.

    Good luck, Sorry I was not able to help you with legal advice. Hope you can get it sorted out.
     
  3. charlesesq

    charlesesq New Member

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    There are cases dealing with use of someone else's trademark for purposes such as what you describe. You may want to report this use to Google to suspend their account, send a legal notice to their host regarding the trademark infringement and you may also think about seizing the domain if it is of value by filing a complaint with WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization (wipo.org)

    Famous cases that deal with liability from using trademarked names in html or meta tags include the Oppendahl & Larson case, which is probably the first of its kind. Since then there are the following:

    J.K. Harris & Co., LLC v. Kassel, et al., N.D. Cal., No. 02-0400, 3/28/03
    Promatek Industries Ltd. v. Equitrac Corp., 300 F.3d 808 (7th Cir. 2002)

    In each case the use of the plaintiff's trademark in meta tags or other fashion designed to redirect user's looking for the plaintiff elsewhere resulting in injunctions and potential liability.
     

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