For content-based domain affiliates, taking note of your domain portfolio and potential copyright conflicts are an ongoing concern, especially if you’re planning to be in the game for the longterm.
I own a domain which contains the term “ebay” in it. Although I feel anyone looking at the domain probably wouldn’t mistake it for an eBay property that a name like eBayMarketing or eBaySupplies might convey.
Nonetheless, I received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org from “Edith, eBay Legal Department” which however nicely written, amounts to a cease and desist notification, and I am supposed to “Please confirm in writing that you will agree to resolve this matter as requested. If we do not receive confirmation from you that you will comply with our request, we will have no choice but to pursue all available remedies against you.”
“Edith” further mentions that “We have filed several successful federal court actions in the United States against companies and individuals employing the famous eBay trademark in their domain names, as well as more than six proceedings before the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization’s arbitration panel. eBay prevailed in each case and the domain names at issue were all ordered to be transferred to eBay.”
And “the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has recently denied registration of the mark “ebaysecurities” by a third party. Like your domain name, “ebaysecurities” incorporated the entire eBay trademark, adding only a generic term to eBay’s famous mark. The USPTO recognized that eBay is a famous trademark and denied registration of ebaysecurities. eBay is concerned that any use of the domain name in question, will cause confusion as to whether you or your companyâ€™s activities are authorized, endorsed or sponsored by eBay when, in fact, they are not. ”
The domain is one in my portfolio and I haven’t developed it yet, so letting it expire isn’t a major issue.
I would think that eBay would be more forward in replying to the email seeking clarificatons I’d sent about 2 weeks ago, to date I haven’t received a reply.
Having dealt with lawyers previously, I would guess that sending this notification gives them “just cause” should they proceed with legal action later, having taken the pre-requisite step of issuing a legal warning.
So whether you’re a product owner or even an eBay affiliate, registering a domain containing “eBayProfits” or “eBayInsider” could bring a flurry of legal letters.
Some copyright holders are more lax than others in enforcing their trademarks, especially if you’re an affiliate.
From the affiliate perspective however, how do you think an “eBayTips” domain would compare against an “AuctionTips” domain?
It really wouldn’t be any fight at all.
On another note, I’ve been watching a number of domain auctions, and have seen a domain containing “eBay” recently exchanged hands for a four figure sum.
Imagine buying such a domain and receiving a lawyer’s letter shortly after…
Not very fun at all.
Whatever you do, do be careful.