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Can a generic domain name such as internetaddress.com (example) be used by more than one company?

Charleston, SC |

For instance, Web Hosting business. If there are numerous hosting companies that have similar dot com names, is that legal? Besides the obvious downside to having such a name, is there any legal issues to having these type of "generic" names? example such as globalworld or US Hosting, etc.

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Attorney answers 1

Posted

From this and your other question today I get the impression you are confusing domain names and trademarks. A domain name can incorporate a trademark, but merely registering and using a domain name does not automatically give you any trademark rights in that domain name. To gain trademark rights, and to be able to exclude others from using the same or similar mark, the domain name must function as a trademark. If your domain name only appears in the internet address bar of your website, that is not enough to act as a trademark. However, if the domain name is prominantly displayed on your webpage, such as in the header or banner for the website, it could function as a trademark. Furthermore, trademark rights are gained through use of the mark in connection with the sale of goods or services. Until your web business is actually up and running and you have sold your services, you have not acquired any trademark rights.

That being said, if your domain name does function as a trademark, and certain conditions are met, you may be able to exclude others from registering similar domain names. Only an attorney knowing more details about your business can answer this.

Andrew Mark Jaffe

Andrew Mark Jaffe

Posted

Great Answer!

James D. Mosteller III

James D. Mosteller III

Posted

You also have to be able prove you sold those services or goods in conjunction with the trademark. I learned this almost too late for one client, but we got some pictures of stuff just in time after we hired a good intellectual property lawyer to help me out back when I was a General counsel to a company. In IP matters, get a lawyer who knows what they are doing, you can never go wrong,. I still use and refer cases to that same lawyer who saved my bacon 22 years ago, whenever an intellectual property issue comes up.