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Trademark names and Domain Names and Sub Domains

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by PerryM, May 24, 2011.

  1. PerryM

    PerryM Newbie

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    I know that using a trademarked name in a domain name is just asking for trouble.

    e.g.

    Toys R Us

    http://www.cheapToys-R-Us(dot)com can be shut down by Toys R Us.

    But what about sub domains?

    e.g.

    http://www.cheapToys-R-US.MyWebSite(dot)com

    Can Toys R US demand the above website be taken down?

    Thanks,
     
  2. 0_inspiration

    0_inspiration Regular Member

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    Yes they can.
    Infact they can send a letter to your host requesting any site that could reasonably be confused for their trademarks be taken down (and it's their definition of reasonable, not yours :p)....

    Have you considered making a site about Toy SRU's? I've no idea what an SRU is, but Toy SRU's dot com surely don't have anything to do with a well known brand lol (that's an example of something that wont work by the way... although you'd have more of a leg to stand on than with cheapToysRus.com :D)
     
  3. PerryM

    PerryM Newbie

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    Thanks, that's what I thought.

    What about http://www.MyWebSite%28dot%29com/Toys-R-Us

    That Toys-R-Us is from a post title - is this allowed or can they demand that be taken down too?

    Or, can an entire sub-directory (folder) be Toys-R-Us and within that you install WordPress?

    If sub-directories are allowed what's the difference between http://www.Toys-R-Us.MyWebSite%28dot%29com and http://www.MyWebSite%28dot%29com/Toys-R-Us?

    The ONLY registered domain name in all the above is http://www.MyWebSite%28dot%29com and nothing else.

    Just how much can a company interfere with your website? Can they demand that you NEVER mention Toys R US ANYWHERE in your website?

    I'm confused.

    Thanks,
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  4. 0_inspiration

    0_inspiration Regular Member

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    Well to be honest, Toys R Us is a bad example since they specifically state that you can't use the terms 'Toys' or 'Toys R Us' in their terms and conditions (insane I know.... but then they were also offering a wopping 0% on console sales over Christmas lol).

    Here's the thing though, you can write about Toys R Us, you can review them, you can parody them, you can do a fan page, you can use the term however the heck you like, but if they decide they want to take your site down they can... The trick is not drawing their attention, or making yourself a lower priority target. The legal system is so inherently unfair that you'd never be able to fight them if they decide they want to take you down.... (Added to which, the 'authority' in charge of .Com's is a complete corperate lackey...)

    ToysRUSA or ToysRussia are the one I'd go for, at least they're good puns :D
     
  5. PerryM

    PerryM Newbie

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    I'm in a situation where I've got a 3+ year old website that uses part of a PENDING trademarked name as the domain name and now there are so many copycats that the company is forcing all to turn over the domain name to them. I'm an affiliate with the company and bring a lot of sales to the company but they have decided to not ignore us anymore but to shut us all down.

    Their PENDING trademarked name uses part of an existing company's name that they didn't know about and they are duking it out in court right now. I have no idea what the outcome will be. I initially used their name since that other company's name is similar and thought no one would care.

    I should be able to be right back on page 1 of Google with just about any new domain name but the one that uses a sub domain, like, http://www.ToysRus.MyWebsite%28dot%29.com can be shut down but not turned over to them - I use MyWebsite(dot)com for other affiliate linkage - I have no idea what they will do.

    I do want to review this product and get a commission for being an affiliate but I just wonder how to structure the new website.

    If WordPress takes the title of a post/page "I love Toys R US" and makes the page http://www.MyWebsite%28dot%29com/I-love-Toys-R-US then I don't want to be in the same situation. The domain name does NOT contain their trademark. No sub-directory or sub-domain exists with that name - WP decodes the address and displays the page/post.

    If I use a WP SEO plugin that I then insert "Toys R Us" in the H1 header and the title, of the post/page, is "Great Toys" can the company demand that be taken down too? The page would show as http://www.MyWebSite%28dot%29com/Great-Toys - No human ever sees "Toys R Us" but Google will index it under those keywords.

    Thanks for any help.

    P.S.

    What about taking the name Toys R US and scrambling the words to http://www.UsRtoys%28dot%29com - Google will include all Toys R US in the SERP so I'm assuming the website might be easier to list on page 1 of Google (Toys R US) with that name?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  6. PerryM

    PerryM Newbie

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    I just checked with the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and I registered my domain name 6 weeks before the company applied for a trademark.

    So does that change anything?
     
  7. 0_inspiration

    0_inspiration Regular Member

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    Don't try and find a legal loophole, because if you're a US citizen and they want to take the site down they will. Just make it as inoffensive as possible, regularly backup your data and be prepared to lose it someday :D
     
  8. PerryM

    PerryM Newbie

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    That's what I'm going to do - I'm going to wait until the deadline of June 30 and write a nice letter asking to be grandfathered in.

    In the 5 weeks remaining I'll bring up the site under another name and if I'm forced to shut my original site I then will SEnukeX it and hope to be on Page 1 in 30 days.

    Thanks for all the advice...
     
  9. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    No, that doesn't change anything... they own the mark... I know it is tough but hopefully they will work something out with you.
     
  10. SEO Controller

    SEO Controller Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I think the safest way legally would be to stop at a review of toys r us. Unfortunately the system is biased against small time players and legal recourse is usually expensive and lengthy. If they end up asking you to take your site down, chances are you'll go along with them unless you have the money and time to duke it out in court!
     
  11. Scripteen

    Scripteen Elite Member

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    If the brand is in the domain or subdomain, then yes they can shut you down. but if you are outside the US (or the trademark country) it becomes harder for them. Also being with big registrar/host gives you more protection since they will only comply with the trademark holder if he proves ownership of the trademark. But a small host will be scared with the first letter and terminate the account. Sometimes even without contacting you beforehand.

    The keyword in the page address / title is fine. Think about how many pages on the internet have the keywords microsoft / yahoo / google / nokia etc... in their page address and titles without problems?
     
  12. PerryM

    PerryM Newbie

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    OK, let me recap:

    Company is IBM for instance.

    http://www.IBMsucks.com is not allowed

    http://www.IBM.MyWebsite.com is not allowed

    http://www.MyWebsite.com/IBM is allowed

    Correct?
     
  13. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I have sites like that with no issues.

    I have had sites like:

    www.IBMsucks.com is not allowed

    www.IBM.MyWebsite.com is not allowed

    And have had to give them up... too bad because they were nice little earners.
     
  14. PerryM

    PerryM Newbie

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    In my example of:
    http://anonym.to/?http://www.mywebsite.com/IBM

    IBM can be a subdirectory where WordPress is installed so there will be address of:

    http://www.MyWebsite.com/IBM/I-Hate-IBM : from a post in WP titled "I Hate IBM".

    IBM can't approach my domain name registrar and demand the site be taken down do to trademark infringement.

    Correct?
     
  15. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    My deal is different as I sell products from those inner pages for "IBM" so that may be different than having a page that trashes "IBM".

    So they are getting positive publicity from me as well as making money from my selling their products.
     
  16. aa33030

    aa33030 Regular Member

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    I have a site with one or more of those keywords in the domain name in it and no problems
     
  17. 0_inspiration

    0_inspiration Regular Member

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    Thats harsh about IBMSucks, you would have thought that is allowable under most sane deffinitions of fair use (unless you were maknig money out of it...) in alot of Scandinavian countries they wouldn't accept that as grounds to seize a site!