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RE: domain name speculation

From: Joel Gehman <joel_at_irant.com>
Date: Fri 3 Sep 1999 07:22:38 -0700

<snip>
>Regardless of the current lack of rules pertaining to domain
>name registration, do we not still have trademark protection
>for our companies' or products' name? If someone nabbed
>"gapforkids.com" before The Gap did, all they have is that,
>right? I am correct in assuming that nowhere on their site
>can they use Gap For Kids directly or in a purposefully
>misleading way to trick consumers into thinking they are the
>real Gap For Kids? And anything that even smelled like they
>were thinking of tricking consumers would leave them
>exposed to litigation?

Exactly. As it relates to trademarks, we already have
legislation to protect and enforce the rights of trademark
holders, such as The Gap (eg, the Trademark Act of 1946 {15
U.S.C. 1125}). The cybersquatting bill is not about people
who buy forgapkids.com. The existing trademark laws already
protect The Gap's trademark rights, should someone actually
try to sell kids clothing or infringe on any of The Gap's
trademarks. The cybersquatting bill extends the trademark
laws and creates new laws. Let's say you live in the town
of Gap and own a quarry (perhaps far-fetched, but who
knows). You buy 'gaprocks.com'. Passage of the
cybersquatting bill puts you in the bulls' eye as a
defendent in a Gap lawsuit, claiming "use of a domain name
that is...confusingly similar to a trademark".

And what happens for so-called "sucks" sites (eg,
walmartsucks.com)? Is the public confused? I doubt it, but
I'm sure Wal-Mart would argue so in court. These sites also
become possible victims of deep pocketed corporations. And
taken to this dimension the whole cybersquatting issue
smacks of violating the first amendment too...

Joel Gehman
Manager - Ecommerce Marketing
Reliance Personal Insurance
Visit me: http://irant.com



Received on Fri Sep 03 1999 - 09:22:38 CDT


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