Domain name the same as a dvd title

I purchased an available domain name just yesterday. Then, I did a google search of that name and discovered that there is a DVD (an independently made documentary) with that same domain name, produced three years ago. The DVD title was also not trademarked. Should I be concerned?


Asked almost 6 years ago in San pedro, California
Categories: Patents, Trademarks, Copyright

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Frederic M. Douglas

Answer by Frederic M. Douglas

VerifiedCalifornia lawyer

Yes, you should be concerned. You should be concerned that you didn't do your search before buying the domain name. Don't repeat that mistake.

Now, with what you have now, I don't know the particular name, so I cannot assess whether the DVD people have registered the name as a trademark. You state, "The DVD title was also not trademarked" but you don't state how you figure that out. FYI, there are databases for determining whether a trademark is registered, but not really for finding out if someone is using an unregistered trademark.

Your concern should be little if the DVD people's use relates to a different industry than whatever industry you are operating in (which you don't reveal, so I can't help you with more on that potential conflict). If what they are doing is way different than what you are doing with the name, then there should not be cause for alarm. If you are just cyber-squatting, they may be able to put up a fight to yank the domain name away from you.
Fred

Posted almost 6 years ago

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact Frederic M. Douglas, or search the Lawyer Directory.


James R Coleman

Answer by James R Coleman

VerifiedWorldwide lawyer

There are both state and federal trademark laws so the answer may depend on where you do business.  In general, the main issue under federal trademark law is likelihood of confusion.  That is, how likely is it that someone seeing your domain name would think you are the same as the one owning the DVD?  With some exceptions, a trademark is specific to the product or service type.  Thus, V-8 vegetable juice and V-8 engine are both allowable as trademarks.  There are many examples.  The main exception has to do with what are called "famous marks".  If you use a name like Coca-Cola for a line of socket wrenches, a reasonable person could assume the bottling company is behind the tools. 

If the name of that DVD is a coined word, that is, something like Kodak or Xerox, a made up word, your argument is weaker but if the name is an ordinary word, like Camera or Copier, you should be on firmer ground so long as there is no confusion at to source.

You referred to using the same name as a DVD.   That may involve copyright, not trademark, law.   Again, if the name is coined, you may have a problem but if the name is an ordinary word, you are on firmer ground. 

As you should be realizing, these cases turn on their facts. 

If you are unsure, consult an attorney who works in trademark and copyright law.

Posted almost 6 years ago

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact James R Coleman, or search the Lawyer Directory.

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