Infringement and copyright issues. Does this company "A" have a claim?

Asked over 1 year ago - Rockville, MD

Company A has URL of " Books USA . com " Company B has URL of " Chapbook . com " so both URL are completely different . Issue is when you go to Company B website it says Welcome to " Cheap Books USA " - meaning that they are selling cheap books inside of USA Can company A who has copy right of this " Books USA . com " including the dot com at the end ; telling the company B that you are using a part of my copy right name in your website which is " Books USA " Again , the URL of both website are different and website designs are very different . The issue is on word " USA " Isn't the word of " USA " is too common ? Does company A have a claim here ? What you gentlemen think of this case where there is common used word ? especially on the world of INTERNET .

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Philip Leon Marcus

    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . There are two schools of thought on choosing brand names / trade names. One is that the name ought to describe what the brand represents. That is intuitively obvious, but it has the downside that such descriptive names have little or no protective value in any trademark dispute.

    The law instead calls for distinctive trade names (and logos). Te example that comes to my mind is Exxon [R]. What is an Exxon. Nowadays it is a brand of oil products etc. But when it was rolled out it had no meaning in any language, guaranteed. Instantly register-able at the PTO and very strong in a dispute. With domain name issues it is also very strong in an ICANN dispute.

    So the second school is, do not pick a name and fall in love with it. Instead, do what the big boys do, on a smaller scale. Form a committee of the owner plus a branding expert plus a TM lawyer, and work the problem together.

    Licensed in Maryland with offices in Maryland and Oregon. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-... more
  2. Glen Nuttall

    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You mention copyright, but this looks to be a trademark issue.

    Also, all of the terms at play here are pretty generic, or at least highly descriptive. Thus, the likelihood of either entity having strong trademark rights is pretty low. These URLs appear to have been specifically chosen for their descriptive, generic terms. Trademark rights are earned by brands that are either inherently distinctive, or have become distinctive through consistent use, promotion, or the like. Here, none of the terms seems distinctive, and thus Company A's trademark rights would be weak at best.

    (949) 721-6380 - Of course there's more to it! Plus, we don't have an attorney-client relationship. This brief... more
  3. Maurice N Ross


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . See my answer to your identical question that seems to be send from a different City---is this an abuse of this web-site?

  4. J Scott Scarbrough

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . I question the capitalization of Cheap Books USA, as this indicates not that you are simply "selling cheap books in the USA" but that you are implying to visitors to your website that your company name is indeed "Cheap Books USA".

    On the surface it appears as if there might be a slim arguable "likelihood of confusion" in your use of: "Welcome to "Cheap Books USA" as compared with an established company using the name Books USA. (Dot com or not at the end.)

    It sounds as if you are being threatened by Company A, in which case I suggest you contact an attorney for a confidential consultation and a more informed decision could be reached.

    Good luck.

    My disclaimer is simply that Avvo already has an adequate disclaimer.

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