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 Trademark enforcement in website address 
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Joined: 2011-12-29 10:29:29
Posts: 35
A couple of questions regarding trademark and website domain names, any opinions are appreciated in advance.

Say a company "Small Biz" has been operating under this name for about 10 years. The company has been using the domain name http://www.smallbiz.com for about 8 years. Company recently applied for trademark registration for the mark "Small Biz".

Recently a disgruntled customer of Small Biz purchased both of the following domain names; http://www.smallbizscam.com and http://www.smallbiz.org. Currently neither of these websites are hosted or active. Angry customer claims that both websites will be noncommercial and devoted to providing his negative opinion of Small Biz and his negative and unsatisfactory experiences in his dealings with Small Biz.

Obviously, Small Biz does not want these websites to he developed, wants to prevent the negative opinions of the company from being posted, and would like to have them either terminated or transferred over to them.

Seems to me if customer posts false accusations on either of the websites that Small Biz may have a civil claim against customer for defamation and intentional interference with business. I am not aware of any precedent to support this, but could it be argued that the use of the word "scam" in association with the companies name by implication of the definition of scam be kind of on its face defamatory?

It is my understanding that individuals can use trademarked names in domain names for criticism and negative opinion and company would likely not be able to terminate or transfer the domain name if the websites are noncommercial and it is clear that they are not authorized by or in connection with the trademark owner. It seems that http://www.smallbizscam.com would probably be covered by this nominative fair use of the mark. Would http://www.smallbiz.org receive the same level of protection? I think a lot of this analysis would be factually dependent upon the content of the websites?

Is anyone familiar with using the UDRP and WIPO complaints to deal with these kinds of issues?


2012-03-30 10:07:55
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Joined: 2012-01-03 23:03:44
Posts: 85
Just went through a situation with a "beware" site. Two different counsels said they were allowed to post.


2012-06-03 22:40:07
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