Domain names and trademarks

Trademark claims require the identity or similarity in names used and the products and thus the likelihood of confusion. This applies to the examination of the likelihood of confusion between domain names and trademarks initially the same criteria as for the testing of other types of injury. The starting point is the overall impression of all the circumstances, but take into account is always the degree of similarity of the terms used in particular in terms of sound. In this context, however, some special considerations, which result from technical factors:
On one hand, only combinations of letters with letters of the alphabet are international so far at least possible. Also uppercase and lowercase letters are not distinguished in domains. On the other hand, there are word/picture trademarks, the word element lacked distinctive alone is not capable of protection for themselves.
Moreover questions but always value questions to be decided case by case, depending on the circumstances. Thus, for example, not a lump sum to answer whether for assessing the similarity of words is being confined to the second-level domain (and in some cases the third-level domain) or whether the top-level domain is considered. Clearly the problem is of domains in which the ending part of the protected term is such as in or The question of whether, for example, Spaces or dashes to exclude the likelihood of confusion, is a simple answer escapes. Although the average Internet user knows that only the correct entry of the domain name leads to the desired site, but can be intercepted by choosing a similar sounding domain prospects who just do not know the proper domain of the other.
With regard to the assessment of the identity or similarity of the products offered, it depends on the offered goods or services and not just to the media.

The domain name registration takes place as already shown by the principle of “first come, first serve of”. An examination in view of earlier priority rights is not carried out. Since the registration of a domain but can already take place a mark moderate use of protected items, a corresponding search should be made in advance. In particular, if a likelihood of confusion between the intended domain and protected marks of third parties exists, could be asserted trademark law claims.
If trademark owners argue among themselves about the authorization of a particular domain, because they use for their various products for a long time a homonymous term, the priority (if no likelihood of confusion) is not critical. In these cases, as in the cases of homonymous company names or company KeywordsPlacesAuthors you will be able to grant any of the two indicators owner a better right or overriding interest in the sought by both domain. For the solution of concrete cases it will certainly arrive to the interests of the parties involved.
Sign up for a variety of domains for the sole purpose of excluding the holder of the use to go to the (expensive) to offer him the purchase domains, has been viewed as so-called “domain grabbing” as inadmissible. The reasoning arises in these cases from the fact that a formal legal position is utilized quite abusive.

Read More

Domains and trademark law

For the protection of your domain to trademark claims play a major role. Our own brand provides for protection against free-riders and confusingly Domians other site operators. But their brand can also help to fight successfully against warnings or demand for surrender with respect to the own domain.

Protection by registration of a trademark

Brand Legal protection resulting from reliance on an entry by the Patent and Trademark Office in Munich, §4 para 1 No. 1 MarkenG. Be registered as trademarks mostly company names or descriptions for products and services. A trademark registration usually refers to certain categories (classes). For other than the respective category, the brand is not generally protected.

Reputation with the public/notorious reputation

But protection of the trademark may also come to the Patent Office considered without registration. These cases 2 and 3 MarkenG in § 4. Regulated. This is partly the case by the use of a sign in the course of trade, by which the sign has acquired secondary meaning as a trade mark. Secondly, it can be considered Trademark protection by obtaining a notorious reputation. Such a notorious reputation example, generally takes trademarks used in other countries consider that enjoy outstanding reputation in Germany.

Business names/titles Protection

Also, business names can enjoy trademark protection. These are corporate ID and work titles, such as names of movies, magazines, games or software. These names can be used as business names after MarkenG can be protected. When this work titles have distinctive character and the domain with the same title work is confusingly, the use of this domain may be prohibited. For this, there must be a likelihood of confusion, see below.
Copyright protection is to achieve faster and cheaper than brand protection, is within its range but less extensive.

Read More