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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Should I use a .net domain if...

    I have a concept for a website that I want to develop. After researching out various domain names, I found a very straightforward domain name that I would like to use.

    The issue is that the .com is already taken, but it's not being used. It's parked. However, the .net domain is available.

    Are there any legal issues, ramifications, or otherwise if I was to purchase the .net domain name and develop a website/business with it? I may even create a business entity (ie. LLC) with the name.

    What rights, if any, would this company (currently sitting on their .com domain) have if they decide to use the name? And, on the flip side, what rights would I have if I've already developed the .net domain into a viable business?

    (And, for argument sake, let's say that I don't want to try and purchase the .com domain at this time.)

    Thank you,
    Ron

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard HarryR's Avatar
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    There are no legal reasons you cant use a .net domain and generally the domain name has no impairment on business operation.

    It used to be that .net was for network operators only, .com for commercial entities only and .org for organizations only... these were however only guidelines.

    Now days nobody bats an eye when somebody registers viagra-endorsed-by-the-pope.net, ICANN doesn't appear care and most people don't notice either.

    Personally I'm an idealist and would prefer everybody respected the guideline for .com/.net/.org, but in reality I doubt that will happen....

    Anyways, yeah go ahead, .net will not make a difference.
    Last edited by HarryR; Mar 8, 2008 at 18:54. Reason: typow3s3llj00zv1agriAz

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bigalreturns's Avatar
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    I read a really interesting article on trademark law the other day - actually based on Burger King! I'll try and find it for you, but the upshot is, they would only have a claim against you if they were already established as a trademark within the same area of business as you. There are some more if/or scenarios, but either the article, or others can hopefully advise you on these.
    I'd go for the .net anyway.
    "The proper function of man is to live - not to exist."
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  4. #4
    Headed Home! KM Richards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryR View Post
    viagra-endorsed-by-the-pope.net
    Holy communion, Batman

    Hope it was as good for
    you, as it was for me!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Thanks, guys! I appreciate your feedback.

    So far, it sounds like it's okay to run with the .net name

    One other question ... is it true that the name of a company (ie. a legal entity) is, in and of itself, a trademark? So, I wouldn't have to file an actual, separate trademark for the company name? If anyone can confirm, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Ron

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    Yes and no. Having a registration is not required for a "trademark" but it is ideal to get many benefits, especially until your name is widely known. If you use a name you can develop a "common law" mark but getting it recognized requires a great deal more effort and it's much less firm or certain than a registered mark especially when trying to prove the first use date or strength.

    Federal registration is not required to establish rights in a trademark. Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark. Generally, the first to either use a mark in commerce or file an intent to use application with the Patent and Trademark Office has the ultimate right to use and registration. However, there are many benefits of federal trademark registration.
    - http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac....htm#Search005

    As always, you should talk to your attorney about what sort of potential registration is best for you as well as to help you in searching for other people with a current claim on the name,
    - Ted S

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Thanks, Ted.
    Very much appreciated!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Evangelist Fergal's Avatar
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    When I first heard of a webmaster community called "Sitepoint" I typed sitepoint.com into my browser to check it out. You should be conscious of this if you are going to promote a .net domain. There will always be people who visit the .com domain, when they are looking for your site.
    Fergal Crawley (Previous Username: Proudirish.com)
    Business Advice Forum - Webmaster and Business Forum
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