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Review Site Legal Question

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by ejohnson4, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. ejohnson4

    ejohnson4 Newbie

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    Hello fellow IM/SEOers

    A friend of mine and I have been coding a user-based review site, and realized about halfway through, we hadn't even thought about a potentially big legal issue. Most products (atleast within our niche, although without even looking it up I'm sure its true in most niche's) have trademarks in their names. How can we legally review products with a trademark in the name?

    Like lets say for example that our niche was pens / writing utensils. Lets say some giant pen manufacturer named BigPen made this really crappy pen called the X81 that had the ink just seep through all over your hands. If we put up a page for "BigPen X81" and users posted a bunch of bad reviews for it, saying (truthfully) that it leaked ink all over their hands, wouldn't we be liable for misuse of a trademark? If so, how do we get around this? Do we have to go and get permission from EVERY SINGLE COMPANY that we/our users want to review? Is a simple "BigPen, X81, and BigPen X81 are registred trademarks of BigPen Inc." at the bottom of the page enough to constitute fair use or w/e?

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. cyberzilla

    cyberzilla Elite Member Premium Member

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    Legal problem arise only when you have the product trademark name in your root domain. About the bad review-if the product is really bad, you don't have to worry about posting the same. Simply add a proper disclaimer page.
     
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  3. ejohnson4

    ejohnson4 Newbie

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    Thanks for the speedy response cyberzilla!

    We weren't planning on using any product names in our root domain, as thats obviously a lawsuit waiting to happen. When you say thats the only way legal problems arise, do you mean legally I have nothing to worry about all, or is it more than I'm 95% in the clear, but theres *technically* still a risk?
     
  4. adm0001

    adm0001 Registered Member

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    Ask yourself, does every website writing about Apple iPad have a permission from Apple?

    Copyright law is bad, but not that bad :)

    You can't use trademarked names for launching products or services in the same USPTO class, but that's it.

    As for brand names in domains, it is also not so obvious. Go to nissan dot com, read their story. Pretty much all you need to know about this.
     
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  5. 4trsuted

    4trsuted Regular Member

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    You can avoid legal problems by after product title add it's description and then user reviews, then add line to the disclaimer or footer that we do not control or are liable for user submitted reviews or comments.
     
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  6. dannyhw

    dannyhw Senior Member

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    If someone goes on there and posts something that's just completely slanderous and can be proved to be untrue, you could potentially get a call from a lawyer. If that ever happens just do what they ask.

    But you're never responsible for user generated content. Even when intellectual property rights are being infringed on your only responsibility is to remove the content if the content owner requests it.