Verisign published its list of the “top 10 trending keywords” for .com and .net domain name registrations, and I was surprised to see that “tesla” was in the top ten for the month of May. “Tesla” was listed amongst descriptive keywords such as fantastic, holo, locksmith, and options to name a few.
When I saw the “tesla” keyword, my first thought was the car and battery company called Tesla Motors. I know the company was named after electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla, and I was taken aback that it would be one of the trending keywords for the month. I presume there are ways in which companies and individuals could use the “tesla” keyword given its history, but I also presume many people were registering them because of Tesla Motors.
Using Verisign’s DomainView Tool, I was able to dig a bit deeper into the registrations to see what was going on last month. I did a search for the entire month of May, and I saw that 802 .com domain names were registered that contained “tesla” and 100 .net domain names were registered with that keyword during the month.
After digging a bit further and looking through some of the results, it looks like many of the domain names aren’t using “tesla” in a manner that would infringe on Tesla Motors’ trademarks. For instance, here are 5 domain names that have “tesla” in them that were registered last month:
As you might also expect, there were many domain names that appear to have been registered because of the Tesla Motors company. I don’t know the motivation behind the registration of the domain names, so I am not going to call anyone out for registering tesla domain names, but it was interesting to see what looks like names that the company would almost certainly believe to be infringing on its marks.
I still find it interesting that in 2015 people are still registering domain names that could pose serious legal troubles for the registrants. I also think this illustrates the challenges faced by intellectual property attorneys who are responsible for protecting the brands of their clients.