Just about every time a big company announces the launch of a new product, people buy related domain names for a multitude of reasons. Some buy them with the hopes of selling them to another company, others want to capitalize on potential popular typos, and yet others want to offer services, forums, special offers or other information related to the product.
On November 8th, Verizon Wireless began selling the Motorola Droid, a new smartphone that has had a whole lot of positive press and reviews. I’ve seen dozens of commercials for the Droid (if not more than dozens), and they seem to be directly taking on the iPhone and other smart phones. Needless to say, the Droid will be in high demand, and people will think they can make money by buying and selling Droid domain names.
However, with this particular trademark, you really need to be very careful of the usage of related domain names. On the bottom of Droid-related pages on Verizon Wireless’ website, there is a legal notice, “DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies.”
By registering domain names with the term “droid” in it, you will probably be stepping on the feet of Verizon, Motorola, and Lucasfilm. Keep this in mind in the event that you think you might be able to make money with this mark. Obviously there are way to use “droid” in a domain name without potential liability, but I am sure there are plenty of people who don’t realize the risk of owning these with the intent of profiting off of the Droid mark, by selling, parking, or otherwise monetizing phone-related Droid names.
Almost all large companies are running software to scan newly registered domains and in a matter of hours you will have an auto generated email from the company.
I would guess these companies do the same.
I hand registered a two word domain a few months ago and immediately parked it and let the company automatically set the title and keywords.
Well, the two words contained “F I C O” in it and set it up for that, even though it was off topic and irrelevant.
Took a day or two to get the auto generated email asking for the domain name! I know I didn’t hand register a FICO name and sure enough, it had FICO showing in the ads.
I immediately fixed the problems, emailed them back and explained the what had happened, thanked them for bring it to my attention and kept the domain.
Taught me a lesson to be a little more proactive once I give a parking company a domain.
I thought this was interesting enough to do an article on this as well a couple of days ago. I don’t want to spam your comments so I put it in the link to my header if you think anyone would be interested.
PS I sold Androidhack .com not because I didn’t want to mess with Google but because I didn’t want to mess with Lucas. They don’t play around
I dont get why they needed to use the name Droid for it . I mean now they are paying millions for something that they didnt need to do . Leave it to big busniess to blow money on nothing . I love this phone It really is a big upgrade for me coming from a windows mobile phone. I made some videos with tips and tricks on how to use the phone and how the phone has multi touch if you guys awanna check it out
Apart from the Lucasfilm ‘droid’ for wireless devices tm. they also have ‘droids’ for toys, more specifically skateboards. Google has the tm for ‘android’ as applied to wireless devices, but there are also ‘android’ tms for automated car manufacturing, watches, and a testosterone pill.
Having closely followed this issue around a tm a friend got for his esongs.com domain, it appears to me (WAY not a lawyer) that there could be hundreds of different tms with the same name- it’s the use attached to the trademark that makes it unique.
2 keys to my post:
1) “you really need to be very careful of the usage of related domain names”
2) “Obviously there are way to use “droid” in a domain name without potential liability, but I am sure there are plenty of people who don’t realize the risk of owning these with the intent of profiting off of the Droid mark, by selling, parking, or otherwise monetizing phone-related Droid names.”
Certainly I had to learn my lesson. Not exactly the hard way (i.e. legal action), but couldn’t wait for some of the first few to drop!
How timely! Just in case you didn’t already see this. From Fusible.com
Beginner’s Mistake: LOCKHEED MARTIN Lawyers Come After Us for Domain Name F35JSF.com
So much for the idea that trademarks are only relevant to a specific market (what does a phone have to do with robots in a Star Wars film?) – how nice of Lucasfilm to claim ownership on the English language!
The word is simply an obvious contraction of Android, anyway.
Nevermind domain squatting – if you want to make money, why not do as Lucasfilm do, and trademark obvious variations of the English language? Then if anyone else wants to use that term for any reason, they have to pay you money.
(Can I say “Droid” here, or do I need permission for that too?)
I guess that explains why I saw R2-D2 hawking “The Phantom Menace” in a Verizon cell phone ad just right now.