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BizIPEsq.
BizIPEsq., Attorney
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 996
Experience:  I am a tech attorney and I represent clients with technology, internet and intellectual property matters
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What is the policy/law for domain name infringements on professional

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What is the policy/law for domain name infringements on professional sports or trademarked companies? Specifically, what can or can't someone do with a similar sounding domain name/website?

BizIPEsq. :

Hello, I will be assisting you

BizIPEsq. :

Virtually every pro sport team has trademarked their name. This means that if you have a similarly sounding domain name, and you are deemed to be creating confusion in the marketplace (i.e. consumers could confuse your site to be the product of the team) or if you are squatting then the trademark holder can either initiate a law suit against you for trademark infringement or much more simply to start a dispute resolution with ICANN (the body that regulates domain names) and seek to take over your domain.

BizIPEsq. :

(the same goes for every company not just sports teams)

BizIPEsq. :

Therefore, if you own such a domain you risk it being taken away from you

Customer:

Ok. Take the website welikethe49ers.com. Can thsighted be used by real fans although its not rare nfl official site?

BizIPEsq. :

It's up to the 49ers to decide. Unfortunately there are no bright line rules as to what names are XXXXX XXXXX what names are not

BizIPEsq. :

it's about determining if it creates confusion the marketplace

BizIPEsq. :

either a court does that or ICANN

BizIPEsq. :

through the arbitration process

Customer:

Where can I find this out for sure?

BizIPEsq. :

you can't. It's a business risk you will be taking

Customer:

even for a blog or discussion group?

BizIPEsq. :

here's a link to a story about Canon trying to take down a fan site http://www.blogherald.com/2011/06/03/trademark-copyright-and-fan-sites/

BizIPEsq. :

yes even for fan sites

BizIPEsq. :

the law does not distinguish about the entity rather whether it creates confusion in the marketplace

BizIPEsq. :

sorry to be the bearer of bad legal news but don't shoot the messenger...

BizIPEsq. :

I rather you know the law than get into trouble

Customer:

Great stuff. What about obvious disclosures ?

BizIPEsq. :

disclosures are not operative here because the 49ers potentially can claim that you are diluting their brand

Customer:

also. Take a team like tfalcon dons, eagles, rams.... There are 100s colleges and h.s. Teams .

Customer:

With the same name.

BizIPEsq. :

eagles and rams are a different case. Their names are generic

BizIPEsq. :

49ers is a unique name

BizIPEsq. :

but the Philadelphia Eagles may be trademarked

BizIPEsq. :

you be careful about using the full identifiable brand

Customer:

True. So lets talk about eagles. what are some things I could do with a welikeeagles.com. Could i solicit to authentic nfl apparel retailers a catchy domain site to sell authentic gear?

BizIPEsq. :

it would be up to the eagles to decide if they want to pursue you. No attorney can clear your actions, because if the Eagles believe that you are infringing their trademark they have to pursue you or they risk loosing their trademark

BizIPEsq. :

key concept: according to trademark law they have to go after you

Customer:

I am not selling merchandise direct, but acting as a promoter of selling licensed items . What is the difference if Macy's online adverts real merchandise through a promotion site?

BizIPEsq. :

Macy's site will likely be at Macys.com not "PhillyEagleMerchatMacys.com"

BizIPEsq. :

the problem is with the domain trying to make it look as if you are somewhat connected to the eagles

BizIPEsq. :

think about the concept of confusing a customer as to who you are and if there is a likelihood of confusion trouble will be brewing

BizIPEsq. :

you have to assume that customers will likely be confused unless you are so obviously different

BizIPEsq. :

I trust this gives you some tools to begin making decision

Customer:

Great step forward. Ty.

BizIPEsq. :

you're welcome

BizIPEsq. :

please rate my service

BizIPEsq. :

cheers

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