Valuate.com has launched a trademark checker engine in conjunction with their domain evaluation system powered by Estibot. When you enter domain names that appear to have trademark issues – be it a Fortune 1000 company or brand, there will be an error message notification letting you know the system has detected a trademark.
When I am searching for a domain name and think there could potentially be a trademark issue, I search the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s TESS, which is a database of live and dead US trademarks. It’s important to note that not every system is accurate, and you should seek professional legal advice if you have questions.
Obviously TheGoogle.com would be a TM issue, but the system didn’t target Windows.com as a potential trademark. Of course, a glass company could legitimately use Windows.com, but a computer company other than Microsoft would probably have issues if it was used.
One reason I like the offering is that many people who are new to the industry don’t know much about trademark issues – or don’t think of them as a potential problem. I’ve been upfront about stupidly hand registering some names with trademarks back in 2003. I didn’t really know any better at the time. With this offering, people who want to check on a new registration like GoogleBusinessServices.com or something like that will get the warning that the name could be risky to own.
I recently unknowingly purchased a few domains that are likely to have trademarks. I have received a letter in the mail in regards to one of these domains. I was wondering if you had any advice that you could offer me regarding protocol and what you did back in 2003. Since then I assume you have encountered this situation. I would appreciate any knowledge you could provide me with suggesting the best method for handling first the letter and the other domains.
Thank you in advance,