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   Can they sue me over this??
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   Author  Topic: Can they sue me over this??  (Read 1322 times)
adrenalineX
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Can they sue me over this??
« on: Jun 1st, 2006, 8:46am »
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Okay, so I started up this 'fan-site' forum, where people that own this type of boat, can go and talk about it. Everything is free, and there are no advertisements. IE. I do not make ANY money. the url is www.myboatcompany.com  (it's not really, but as an example)...  now the real companys name is www.boatcompany.com. Am I protected because I put the 'MY' infront of it, technically changing the word?
 
This company has contacted me for some reason, and has asked me to register a completely new url, because they don't want any other websites relating to theirs. (obviously this is stupid in the first place, becuase my website gives them business, and provides a good support area for fellow owners)
 
Anyways, what are my rights, if any?
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Isaac
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Re: Can they sue me over this??
« Reply #1 on: Jun 1st, 2006, 12:02pm »
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on Jun 1st, 2006, 8:46am, adrenalineX wrote:
Okay, so I started up this 'fan-site' forum, where people that own this type of boat, can go and talk about it. Everything is free, and there are no advertisements. IE. I do not make ANY money. the url is www.myboatcompany.com  (it's not really, but as an example)...  now the real companys name is www.boatcompany.com. Am I protected because I put the 'MY' infront of it, technically changing the word?

 
I cannot tell whether adding "my" to a URL that looks a lot like a company's trademark would be sufficient to put you on the right side of a dispute without knowing the trademark involved, but I would not be surprised if it did not.
 
As for whether you can be sued, suing simply means filing a properly filed out form at the right court house.   You can be sued even if you are right.  Trademark holders are obliged to protect their marks if they do not want them weakened or lost, and that might result in taking action in even a marginal case.
 
Quote:

This company has contacted me for some reason, and has asked me to register a completely new url, because they don't want any other websites relating to theirs. (obviously this is stupid in the first place, becuase my website gives them business, and provides a good support area for fellow owners)

 
Stupid or not, a trademark holder does  have some say in how others use their trademarks even if those others claim to be using it in the owner's best interest.
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Isaac
JSonnabend
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Re: Can they sue me over this??
« Reply #2 on: Jun 1st, 2006, 1:06pm »
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I think the law is a bit up in the air, leaning perhaps towards allowing the use you've outlined (as far as I understand it).  In short, at least some jurisdictions have said it's ok to use another's trademark as part of a domain name provided, in part, that you do so (i) in good faith (even if you trash the trademarked goods or services on your site), (ii) not for commercial gain, and (iii) not in connection with the sale of related goods or services.
 
The case that's most often cited is Bosley Medical.  It's a good read.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
Brooklyn, USA
718-832-8810
JSonnabend@SonnabendLaw.com
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