iCharge Should Buy iCharge.com

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TechCrunch ran an article today about a European company called iCharge which accepts credit card payments through an attachable smartphone accessory. The article compared it to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s company, Square, which I previously wrote about.

I am not going to analyze the company’s product or services since that isn’t my forte and I haven’t tried it out, but I would suggest they buy an important domain name for this international company. At the moment, iCharge uses iCharge.net for its Internet presence. This might not be a problem with for some companies, but inevitably, people will type in iCharge.com, which happens to be for sale via Sedo for $10,000 EUR (not an affiliate link).

When publishers such as TechCrunch refer to the company as iCharge, people will generally assume the will be found on the .com. This is especially true for multi-national companies that operate in many different markets. As a company that will rely on trust since it’s dealing with payment processing, iCharge should not give another company the opportunity to swoop in and buy iCharge.com. If that happens, they will have no control over that generic domain name.

In my opinion, the price for iCharge.com is fair, especially considering the .net company is positioning itself to become a big player in the field. Now would be the best time to buy the domain name, before the company increases its value.

18 COMMENTS

    • @ Damir

      The thing is that at roughly $15k, it’s a gamble for someone else to buy it with the hopes the company is a big success and will get traffic as a result. If they fail, or if the company is acquired and drops the name, it’s hardly worth that $15k.

      The company can get itself a good price to avoid traffic loss.

  1. @ UDRP Talk

    I think i or e before a commonly used word would be defensible, as i is frequently used in place of “Internet” or “Interactive” and e is frequently used in place of “Electronic.”

    I would bet iCharge.com was registered well before the iCharge service and would be defensible, and I believe iPhone.com would have been defensible had Apple gone the legal route instead of paying a huge sum of money for it.

    I have no legal background whatsoever, so it’s just my own opinion.

  2. Hi Elliot,

    It would be defensible as long as the owner doesn’t sell the domain to another unrelated party.

    Once the domain is sold, then the rights “reset” the the sale date.

    Also, what you are saying makes sense for at least “e”, however “i” doesn’t seem to be going the way of generic.

    Even CNN’s iReport is a Registered USPTO TM.

    Can you think of any “i” examples that would support your thoughts?

    -UDRPtalk

  3. @ YDRP

    I’m at a cocktail party, so no, but can you name a couple UDRP transfers for domain names that have the letter “I” in front of generic .com names like iContact.com oe iPhone.com?

  4. Either way, the company can pay what amounts to $14k or so, or they can not buy it, hope it sells to someone else so they can spend $5-7k in a toss-up UDRP. This assumes they later realize that they are losing traffic to the .com and need to take the legal route.

  5. Any others? There are a whole lot more i names that are still owned by people where they were registered long after the generic name.

    Again, I’m no legal expert nor do I claim to be, but I don’t usually see “I” domains transferred unless they come in front of a non generic brand name.

  6. No, you did not. And, it is not uncommon for those in the domainer sphere to have a misguided understanding of the concept of what “generic” means — in a trademark sense.

    If the word equals the genus, then it very well may be generic. Lawyers.com, Hotels.com, these have been ruled to be generic. I personally don’t agree … since “Lawyers.com” is only one place on the web, isn’t it?

    Nevertheless, this should help illuminate the subject a bit. “iCharge” could be a lot of things. My initial impression would be that it has something to do with charging your iPhone.

  7. @ Marc

    If Hotels.com was not considered generic, wouldn’t the TM owners be able to claim that BostonHotels.com or LuxuryHotels.com were infringing even though they are descriptive (assuming BostonHotels.com isn’t developed)? Again, I have absolutely no legal background.

    Back to the point of my post. Do you think that iCharge would be better off buying iCharge,com, or should they allow some other company the opportunity to buy it and do what they wish with it?

  8. To answer your question Elliot yes they should should get name off Sedo. Avoid the hassles of time, lost traffic possible to the .com and branding.

    Now this TM issue is getting a bit silly, the pannels and these so called experts. Its the netbook trademark issues and such a general refrence. FreeCreditReport issues and etc.

    These are scary times for generic .com owners, geo owners and domainers in general going forward.

  9. @ Elliot,

    If Hotels.com was not considered generic, wouldn’t the TM owners be able to claim that BostonHotels.com or LuxuryHotels.com were infringing even though they are descriptive (assuming BostonHotels.com isn’t developed)?

    I don’t think so. They would still have had a very weak mark, that would have ended at its precise contours.

    Back to the point of my post. Do you think that iCharge would be better off buying iCharge,com, or should they allow some other company the opportunity to buy it and do what they wish with it?

    Business decision for them – not a legal question. Some other company could buy it, but that does not mean that they would be able to do anything they wish with it.

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