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

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


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 comment is for information only, and must not be relied upon as legal advice.

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Glen, thanks! However, as I said, the URL of both companies are different but when you visit the company B website it says "welcome to Cheap Books USA" where the first company url is and have trademark of "" Can company A sue company B for having a part of their trade mark name? I know these names are very descriptive and common used on the world of internet. But what is the chances company A win?

Glen Nuttall

Glen Nuttall


Based on these skeletal facts, I'd say there is very little chance Company A would win. In such a lawsuit, Company B would surely assert that "books usa" is a generic term, because, well, "books" is pretty generic for a bookseller, as is "USA" for a US bookseller. The chance of surviving that challenge seems slim - and expensive. Then, if Company A can convince a court that "books usa" is not generic, but is only descriptive of the goods it sells, then it has to show that consumers generally associate "books usa" with Company A. Company A would have to show lots of promotion, exclusive use of the mark for quite a while (us. 5+ years), and the like. Company may even have to run a customer survey to show people think of "books usa" as a trademark for Company A. This is a lot of work, a lot of litigation money, and a relatively low chance of success. A litigation win seems extremely unlikely.


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

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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-client relationship, and is not a substitute for consulting with an experienced attorney on the specifics of your situation.

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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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