Domain Manage

Is this "passing off"

Discussion in 'New Domainers' started by LorSyr, Dec 31, 2013.

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  1. LorSyr

    LorSyr Member

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    I haven't heard from a lawyer or anything, but I'm wondering if this could get me into a spot of bother. I recently regged ?qa.com and developed the website. I only learned of ?qa.blogspot.com when I did a search for my own "paid" domain. Feel kinda bad about it now, but it is what it is. Could this be considered "passing off" and get me into a legal stink? Should I just nip it in the bud (would rather not) and change the name?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
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    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. woopwoop United States

    woopwoop Well-Known Member

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    Passing off is more serious than just trademark infringement.

    If people arriving at your site, through whatever means (organic, PPC or direct) might believe that they are looking at something belonging to the other company, then you're at risk of being accused of passing off.

    I haven't visited your site, but your domain is fairly unique/specific, I'm guessing that you might have something to do with antiques on there... I'm not sure if you have a reason for the qa in the domain, but if justified then the other website could argue that you're infringing their trademark (even if unregistered).

    If you make sure not to represent yourself as them in any way on your website, it's difficult to prove passing off, but easier to show infringement.

    If you're both selling (or are websites showing) antiques... You're in the same class of trade, I think the only other thing that could separate you is geography. Is the other company on a different country?

    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk
     
  4. Murray United Kingdom

    Murray Well-Known Member

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    Just looks like a personal little blog about antiques to me (on the blogspot)

    Doubt they would have any interest to pursue you legally
     
  5. LorSyr

    LorSyr Member

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    Ach! My site is down because Bluehost is down ... and I thought they were one of the good ones.

    Thank you, WoopWoop and Murray. Both sites are intended Q & A sites, hence the antiquesqa name. When I discovered the blogspot URL, I began to move away from the Q & A idea and when I can get back into the site, I'll remove all references to questions and answers. Both are informational sites "about" antiques. The blogspot site is updated regularly and has been ongoing for a few years. I think Google will always give preference to their own sites, but who knows. I may consider changing the name before I get in too deep with content. I don't like competing and in a way, I'm competing with Google.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  6. Murray United Kingdom

    Murray Well-Known Member

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    I should have pointed out I know as much about legal stuff as.. well, I don't know anything at all
     
  7. LorSyr

    LorSyr Member

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    LOL
    Nor I, but I know enough to start the thread. I need to come up with another domain, I think.
     
  8. jim1 United Kingdom

    jim1 Member

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    Does money/services have to take place in order to show passing off?

    As an example if you set up a info site on a .co.uk and the domain was a LLL domain and someone in the same field had a site on a .com could this be passing off? Or infringement? If you call yourself a different name?

    If yes, then this could also be said of expired domains then? If someone has built up goodwill on a domain, even if you make no reference to the old registrant your building on there goodwill?
     
  9. woopwoop United States

    woopwoop Well-Known Member

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    I don't think so. I'm not in the legal profession, but have been exposed to it in a few ways so I'm not 100% behind this... but I think passing off is an act that involves someone knowingly pretending to be someone else, their business or pretending their products, services, website or even advice is that of the other person.

    The person must be knowingly doing the pretending. If that is proven then their is damage done to the claimant (doesn't have to be financial through money/services... could just be in confusing the website visitor and not providing them with the experience they expect from the original company)

    If you call yourself a different name then the passing off and trademark infringement issues usually all go away. If the content on the site is the same as the other websites then that's copyright infringement - still a problem but lower down the food chain.

    Passing off is at the top of the food chain in seriousness because it usually involves the copying of someone else's logo on a box of trainers that haven't been made by them for example. It's someone misleading consumers by knowingly pretending to be another company, by using their name/logo etc.

    Yep it would be true of dropped names in the sense of trademark infringement if you use the name in a similar class of business/trade. `

    I mentioned above that passing off is often connected with using another company's logo, but if the domain is specific enough and the website seeks to trick people into thinking it's a site of the other company's, then that's enough for passing off.

    Don't believe everything I say! Everything depends on the circumstances really.
     
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