Asked in Copyright and Trademark

Q: Can trademarks in website URL's be disputed?

For example, if someone trademarks "Essential Hunting Gear" would the website "Essential Hunting Gear Warehouse" be violating the trademark? Specifically if the verbiage on the website was Essential Hunting Warehouse

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1 Lawyer Answer
Bernard Samuel Klosowski
Bernard Samuel Klosowski
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Greenville, SC

A: Possibly.

First of all, trademarks and trademark registrations are different - kind of like a car and the title to the car. This will determine the strength, scope and reach of the senior user's rights.

In this instance, if the other party owns and uses EHG as a trademark/service mark (with or without a federal registration) and then a junior (new) user starts using EHG as part of a domain name, it might fall under the category of cybersquatting. See 15 U.S. Code § 1125(d). Also, the differences between the senior EHG mark and the verbiage EHW on the website and whether the words are being used as a mark for the same goods to be sold to the same consumers are some of the many factors that a trademark attorney will have to consider to advise whether there would be potential problems in this scenario.

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