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Website Laws


Siafu

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Hello all,

 

Very new to all of this, so I'll apologize in advance for my newbish, AND numerous amount of questions.

 

*First: I'm looking to build an online dating website. I won't get into the actual premise behind it, but let's just for the sake of this thread that it has to deal with individuals who have an interest in trees. Would naming the site "TreeHarmony.com" be illegal? Does "EHarmony" have sole rights to any dating website ending in "harmony"? Also, should I have the website Trademarked or Copywritten? Do I want to establish a business account before doing any of this?

 

*Second: Within the website, can I use brand names of other companies? For instance, can one of the drop down menus include words like "Coca-Cola" or "McDonald's"? I wouldn't actually be representing their brand name, just using it as a means for individuals to narrow their search fields.

 

If you can think of anything that would be of good advice for someone starting out such as myself, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all!

 

Bill

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Hey Bill,

 

I'll take some educated shots at this.

 

*First: You can always check to see if TreeHarmony.com is available. If it is, eHarmony does not hold the rights to it, BUT...

You can bet your bottom dollar that you will end up with legal actions from eHarmony once they find out that there's an online dating service with Harmony in the name. That would be like trying to open a MacDonalds, McDonalds would be all over you. You might want to discuss this with a lawyer fimilar with Tradenames and business law.

 

*Second: Using brand names on your site "might" cause repercussions also. Example - I worked for SubWay World Headquarters in the Store Design department. They actually have people searching the internet for anything relating to SubWay (as the food chain, not transportation). If they find something not "registered" through them they ask that it be removed. They also follow through with legal proceedures if necessary. I wasn't even allowed to make copies of my CAD drawings to add to my portfolio. They claimed they were property of SubWay and it was not allowed.

 

Personally I would come up with my own unique name and menu labels, not play off of other well established brand names. I would just try to avoid any possible problems. Plus, I would want my site/company to stand out and not get confussed with another.

 

Just my 2 cents... ;)

- :: Jim :: -

- My Toolbox ~ Adobe Web Bundle, XAMPP & WinMerge | Install ~ osC v2.3.3.4 -

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Hello all,

 

Very new to all of this, so I'll apologize in advance for my newbish, AND numerous amount of questions.

 

*First: I'm looking to build an online dating website. I won't get into the actual premise behind it, but let's just for the sake of this thread that it has to deal with individuals who have an interest in trees. Would naming the site "TreeHarmony.com" be illegal? Does "EHarmony" have sole rights to any dating website ending in "harmony"? Also, should I have the website Trademarked or Copywritten? Do I want to establish a business account before doing any of this?

 

*Second: Within the website, can I use brand names of other companies? For instance, can one of the drop down menus include words like "Coca-Cola" or "McDonald's"? I wouldn't actually be representing their brand name, just using it as a means for individuals to narrow their search fields.

 

If you can think of anything that would be of good advice for someone starting out such as myself, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all!

 

Bill

I'm not an attorney so take this for what it is worth.

 

1 - You will be able to purchase any domain name that is available. However, if it is too similar, espeically to a large company, you may have problems. A number of years ago, a teenager named Mike Rowe decided to open a website. He named it MikeRoweSoft.com. MicroSoft hit him with number of threats and legal documents. The site was finally closed.

 

2 - You can use corporate names if you are not trading on them. So if you actually sell Coca-Cola, you can have a link to it on your site. But if you promoting your own line of soft drinks by showing how they compare with Coke, you will probably have problems.

 

Jack

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Do not forget, the laws governing these are based on where you have the trademarks and where your market is looking to work in, so for example, you register the name (similar in wordage) and also conduct same type of business, the market where you apply your trade matters and where the competition applies it's market.

 

The mikerowesoft.com name actually from what I remember, M$ lost their injunction as he was using his actual name (which is legal to do, regardless if he compete in a similar market) and M$ could not effect that legally, so I believe they bought him out instead (I could be wrong here).

 

Domain names are finite and so using the same wordage in a name will not limit the usage if the company in question does not have a trademark in the country where the domin name is registered, (ie I register my domain / company in Canada)

 

Competition can use a similar name but in a different market, unless I also hold a trademark there, it is difficult to force the removal of this name though ICAAN procedures, and if you register the domain name though another country registrar, then USA laws have no effect there...

 

Just some thoughts and in reality a call to a lawyer would be the best advise for you in the long run ;)

 

I also agree with the comment that building your own label is far more productive then trying to creep onto another's name....

 

 

cheers,

Peter

Peter McGrath

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