Potential Liability for a Newly Purchased Domain | DomainInvesting.com
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Potential Liability for a Newly Purchased Domain


Before you buy a domain name, especially an acronym, check to see what is currently being displayed on the website to make sure it’s not infringing on another company’s mark. If you buy a domain name that had infringed on a company’s mark in the past, you could be held liable for the domain name’s past use.

Take this as an example. You decide you want to buy a great 3 letter .com domain name. You search Google for acronyms just to see how it could be used, and you find out that a major technology company is sometimes known by the acronym. When you check the domain name, the current landing page has this company’s ads (or a competitor’s). This could put a new owner in harm’s way.

Not only do I look at the current landing page and ask the owner about the landing page history, I also do some research to see what was on the page previously. I like to use Archive.org to see what was previously displayed on a website. It’s always better to ask questions to gauge potential risk down the road.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (3)

    Steve M

    And though relatively rare for acronyms, I’d also check the uspto.gov trademark database; both issued and pending.

    January 22nd, 2009 at 4:02 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Agreed with that. I check the USPTO upon most domain purchases. Even if I am confident the domain is generic, it’s always good to see what you might potentially be up against down the road.

      January 22nd, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    wanna develop

    You can also check over at DomainTools — they provide “historical thumbnails” and not just the whois data.

    They have 10 records for domaininvesting.com for example going back as far as 2007.



    January 23rd, 2009 at 3:54 am

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