It’s Not Just Domain Investors That Own Trademark Domain Names

Domain investors often bear the brunt of trademark interests when it comes to typosquatting and cybersquatting. In my opinion, domain investors are blamed for far more than their fair share of cybersquatting. There are plenty of companies that own trademark domain names, and they would not be considered domain investors.

When I got up to have some breakfast, my refrigerator didn’t seem to work. The freezer was functioning perfectly, but the light was out in the refrigerator and it was warm. Not only was I frustrated with the fact that I would have to throw out all of the spoiled food, but I know refrigerator parts and repairs are expensive.

The first thing I did was hit up Google and search for “sub zero repair nyc.” I found a few promising repair companies, several of which were advertising via Adwords. There are sites like,,, and even subzerorepair.CO.

Not sure about who to trust and call, I contacted Sub Zero. They told me “there are only two Factory Certified Service companies in the New York City area.”  I imagine the other companies that are advertising are capable of doing repairs and are probably licensed by someone, but the company rep told me only two companies in NYC were certified by Sub Zero.

I have no idea if those companies that use SZ marks are related in any way to the two certified repair companies, but based on the price difference between the companies, I don’t believe they are related. However, they are still using the Sub Zero trademark in domain names, which makes them look more “official.”

Domain investors often bear the brunt of TM-related cybersquatting, but in reality, this isn’t limited to domain investors.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Here is the ideal .CO use. A company that likely relies 100% on PPC to get guaranteed results acquires a top keyword domain for a reasonable price. The average user (who does not even know there is a domain industry) sees and does not blink before clicking.

  2. This story and Berkens’ story about Disney trademarking “Seal Team 6” (the team that killed Osama) are great examples of the point you’re making. Thanks for bringing more light to this subject.

    • @ Christopher

      There are only two companies certified by SZ in New York City, so it would be strange that they would be permitted to use the branding in domain names but not be certified by the company to do work. Additionally, it appears the companies don’t use SZ in branding, just in domain names.

  3. @Elliot

    The other companies may not be SZ certified but it is highly likely they buy parts from SZ in the course of their repairs. This is a high margin area for SZ and certainly a motivator to look the other way. If it is anything like commercial kitchen equipment, most repairs do not happen by the manufacturers certified repair group but manufacturers parts are almost always used.

    Sorry for the off-topic .CO comment.

  4. “I have no idea if those companies that use SZ marks are related in any way to the two certified repair companies,”

    This could be an example of two things. One could simply be that they are flying under the radar or will continue to do this until Sub Zero complains. (I don’t think this is happening).

    Second is that it is allowable. For example if you open the yellow pages you will see under “appliance repair” companies that advertise with the logos of many brands.

    Having been an YP advertiser for many years I can tell you that the print book vets the legalities of what you put in the ad. Based on that (unless things have changed of course) I would have to say that there is some precedence that this it is ok to do.

    Using another example I don’t believe there is any reason you can’t run a display ad in a paper saying that you repair sub zero appliances and/or include the trademark. Even if not strictly allowable for some reason by tm law it is de minimis.

    “Not only was I frustrated with the fact that I would have to throw out all of the spoiled food” (note some homeowners policies cover this btw for an electrical surge for example).

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