A company has a particular phrase registered and has the registered mark. For example, "Action Unlimited®". Could I use that phrase as a domain name for my website without trademark infringement? My website will be in a different niche than the company that has the registered phrase.
It may be ok to use a trademarked phrase as your domain name if there is not a likelihood of confusion created in the consumer's minds. If you are in a different niche form the company with the trademarked phrase that is a good start. Then you have to be clear that all graphics and terms on your website clearly depict your business and do not attempt or appear to pass off your business as associated with the other company. Using the trademarked phrase on the pages of your website may be considered infringement and get you a cease and desist notice. This is a tricky area and can be very expensive if you do it wrong. I strongly advise that you consult with intellectual property counsel local to you and review the particulars of your proposal before you invest in creating your mark, logo and website.
The answer to your question is HEAVILY dependent on the specifics of your situation.
For example, the hypothetical phrase you provided "action unlimited" seems pretty generic to my ear (aside from it being probably a valuable domain name due to both its two-word character as well as the fact that it could apply to almost anything).
The question conjures up federal registrations, state registrations, common law rights, domain rights, and possibly international rights.
So, as much as you probably don't want to hear it, you need to hire a local attorney who is an expert in trademark law.
The above answers are good ones. If you were called upon to defend a cybersquatting case you'd need to explain why you want to use the name and show why you should be able to use it. Hire an experienced trademark lawyer.
I'd be surprised that a trademark phrase would be available as a domain name. It almost certainly would have been purchased years ago by the trademark holder. Are you talking about a more obscure ".net", ".biz" kind of domain name or a ".com"?
As the others have said, it depends. Whether you'd be committing trademark infringement depends on a number of factors, frequently the similarity of the marks, the similarity of the goods and services, and the "channels of trade" (the means by which your goods and services are distributed to the consumers). That your products are in a different industry may help, though the goods and services don't *need* to be identical for there to be infringement.
One thing you might want to avail yourself of is the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, or "UDRP." It's an international dispute-resolution system that enables owners of registered trademarks to petition to cancel, suspend, or transfer a domain that infringes upon their registered trademarks. Depending on the sophistication and resources of the owner of the registered trademark, this is another avenue they could potentially use to enforce it. Using a similar domain in good faith and/or for unrelated goods and services is a valid defense, though. For more details, see https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/help/dndr/udrp-en.
As the others have suggested, consult privately with a trademark attorney.
Disclaimer: The answer to this question is for general educational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice. To the extent the question concerns specific issues of state law, my answer is limited to the law as it applies in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where I am licensed.
As noted, in theory you can, but whether your particular use infringes requires a deeper analysis.
Before you make any investment, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.
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