“Available” is not the same as “lawful to own” when registering a domain name. Domain registrars – such as GoDaddy, Bluehost and Domain.com – are just marketplaces for available domain names. A registrar’s willingness to allow someone to purchase a domain name does not necessarily come with any assurances that the purchaser has the right to use that domain name. In fact, reputable registrars – and all of those that are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – generally require the purchaser to represent that its purchase of the domain name does not infringe on others’ intellectual property rights.
If a trademark owner believes a domain owner has acquired a domain name that incorporates its trademark – or something confusingly similar to its trademark – without permission, it may be able to grab the domain name from the original purchaser by instituting a “UDRP” proceeding. Under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), a trademark owner can initiate an arbitration-like proceeding against a domain owner which will determine whether the domain owner can keep its domain or if it will be transferred to the trademark owner. Typical providers of UDRP arbitration services are … Keep reading
The Conundrum of Works for Hire.
You are a small business. You’ve hired a web developer to create your website, a marketing expert to author critical passages about your products and services, and you’ve hired a graphics person to design your business cards and signage. You paid everyone, took delivery of and launched your beautiful new website. The problem is, you don’t have any paper that confirms your developer, marketing guru, and graphic designer transferred the rights to the work to you. “But wait,” you protest, “they cashed my checks and I have possession of the files. Doesn’t that mean I own it?”
It’s natural to assume that if you engaged a service provider to create something for you, and you paid for it, it’s yours. But that’s not what the law says, at least with respect to works that are eligible for copyright protection. In fact, even if you have a writing that says the work shall be considered a “work made for hire,” that might not be sufficient to ensure that the work belongs to you.
What Does Copyright Protect?
Copyright protects original, creative works that are set out in a “tangible medium,” meaning they are written … Keep reading
Question: What do Sean Combs, J.K. Rowling, LeBron James, Lionel Messi, and Mark Wahlberg have in common? Two things, actually. First, they are all listed on the Forbes 2017 Celebrity 100 List; second, they all have gone to the trouble of registering their personal names as trademarks with the U.S Trademark Office. Indeed, of the first 20 celebrities on this “A” list, 19 have sought registration of their names as trademarks.
Trademark Protections For Personal Names
Under Federal law, everyone is entitled to seek protection of his or her name as a brand. The Lanham Act expressly provides that:
No trademark by which the goods of the applicant may be distinguished from the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless it … consists of or comprises a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual except by his written consent.
As indicated by the language of the statute, in addition to names, likenesses (portraits) and signatures of individuals are entitled to trademark registration. Several well-known entertainers have taken advantage of this right, including Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, and Anthony Hopkins … Keep reading