I have been advertising my portfolio in my email auto-responder and had an interesting experience when a client of mine who realised he had a domain similar to mine and that he claimed I was infringing intellectual property rights. I quickly told him unless he has trade marked the name or words there is little that can be done to prevent other people buying up that name and extentions.
Lucky for him I am on his side. Had someone else bought the domain other than myself he would have been in a pickle.
However this is were it gets a bit confusing if you were just buying the name say for instance www.gucci.wales then that would be illegal but if you bought up the domain www.guccishoes.com and you were a retailer or stockist of Gucci Shoes then providing you could prove you were the official retailer/stockist you could probably own that domain it would not neccessarily mean that Gucci should have rights to that domain name so that no one else could use it, because then it would be more difficult for original retailers and stockists to sell the brand.
It is always best to find out if a word or words are trade marked or not before going ahead and buying up domain and their extensions. If you think the word is a brand name stay away from it at all costs.
If on the other hand its a generic word (s) then any Tom, Dick or Harry can own it.
Although in my case my client has a similar domain to mine so out of respect to my client who wants me to be involved in his business I may use my domain to increase the SEO for that business. God know what he is going to do with all ther other extensions available on the market for the two keywords, unless he tries to buy them all.
Here is the link to the government website outlining intellectual property rights in the UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/intellectual-property-crime-and-infringement
If you have a problem with your domain or need some advise please email email@example.com and we will pass it on to our team of solicitors.
Further ready…. here are some examples of some famous law suits.
1) S. Victor Whitmill v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Mike Tysons tattoo artist sued Warner Bros in the film Hangver II when they used his design on Stu Price the dentist, played by Ed Helmes. The court ordered Warner Bros to change the tattoo and compensated the tatoo artist Victor Whitmill an undisclosed sum.
2) Isaac Newton v. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz worked together in the early 18th century, inventing the study of
calculus. Gottfried Leibniz had published his findings on
the topic in 1684 and 1686. However Isaac Newton published a
book called Opticks in 1704, where he claimed himself as
the inventor of calculus. This caused an argument between the two.
Isaac claimed he wrote about the topic in1665 and 1666, but only told about his work with a few colleagues.
Sir Isacc Newton accused Gottfied Leibniz of plagiarizing his work. The law suit was never settled as Gottfried Leibniz died in 1716 before the case had finaized.
Today Historians claim that both Newton and
Leibniz were the co-inventors, having come to the idea independently of each
other, but would that have been the case when the two of them were alive?
3) Adidas America Inc. v. Payless Shoesource Inc.
Its all about the stripes, now this brings me back to the Gucci example earlier where a retailer could buy up the name www.guccishoes.com but in theory sell similar look a like shoes, this would them be illegal. The domain I am referring to is just an example and checking it today I find it is being re-directed to a website http://www.viralsharebuzz.com which has nothing to do with shoes. What I think viralsharebuzz are doing is using www.guccishoes.com to generate traffic for themselves.
If I were Gucci I would not allow anyone to use the name in any context as the name is trade marked.
Going back to Addidas………
In 1994, Adidas and Payless got into an argument over stripes. The famous brand name and logo of the three stripes was infringed by another company using two and four stripes. Adidas had
used its three-stripe mark as a logo from 1952, and had
only recently registered it as a trademark. However Payless was selling athletic training shoes with two and four parallel stripes supposingly confusing the buyers market.
Remember Addidas is a trade mark of three stripes. So their argument was that no one else can have two stipes, four stripes or five etc?
However any person who is willing to spend money would know the difference between the originals and the lookalikes.
If it was simple counterfeiting then I would understand Addidas having some sort of say in the matter or if the shoe looked the same as the counterparts with one stripe less or one stripe more and the words Adidas on shoe or Didasi plastered over the shoe, then yes there could be a case.
The two companies eventually agreed out a settlement. However after the settlement Payless continued selling the look-alikes.
Adidas worried that the trainers would confuse
buyers and tarnish Addidas’s name, Adidas America Inc. demanded a jury re-trial.
The trial went on for seven years, during which 268 pairs of Payless shoes
were examined. Adidas was awarded $305 million—$100 million
for each stripe and the trial was published in the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog.
So anyone thinking of going into business should also have an original logo and register it. If Payless had trademarked their two stripe version that looked nothing like Adidas collections, they would have saved themselves $305 million.
Trademarking is not as expensive as some may think.
Go to the UK Governement website: https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark/apply