Plaintiff owns registrations for TIMELINES for “Providing a web site that gives users the ability to create customized web pages featuring user-defined information about historical, current and upcoming events; and application service provider, namely, managing web sites of others in the fields of historical, current and upcoming events.” Plaintiff alleges Facebook infringes its mark with its new TIMELINE service, and that FB interfered with plaintiff’s FB page.
The Foreign Candy Company, Inc. is a marketer of innovative international confectioners. It owns registrations for ‘skeletal marks’, used for lollipops with skeletal arms and legs as sticks (specimen above). It alleges that Bee International infringes its skeletal marks.
I think that for some types of companies, such as those in consumer electronics, the decision to file for a ‘dot brand’ TLD may not be that difficult. If consumers are performing a lot of their pre-purchase research online, and are even purchasing online (think DVRs and cameras), then even a small amount of diversion, lawful or unlawful, by typo-sites, adwords, grey goods, etc., can add up to significant lost sales. The possibility of improved SEO and the creation of a ‘trusted’ distribution network may well pay for the TLD. I’m not surprised that CANON and HITACHI are among the early brand owners who have indicated their intention to file for TLDs.
The decision for a brand owner whose product line is not quite as consumer-facing, is a little more problematic. I was talking to a client at a Fortune 500 company that is primarily B2B and whose marketing department is not quite as sold on the TLD opportunity. The in-house lawyer asked what are other companies like his doing? He suggested that there be some means for in-house counsel to share comments and experiences on the new gTLDs.
OK, tell you what. You can use the comment field here, or email me and I’ll anonymze your comments. I hope you’ll contribute on the following:
1. What are the strongest arguments within your company for applying for a new gTLD?
2. What are the strongest arguments against?
3. Is your company contemplating an ‘open’ registry where your customers may utilize domain names reflecting your brand, or a ‘closed’ registry where your company owns all second level domain names?
Yesterday the Trademark Blog microblog on Twitter (@trademarkblog) received its 2000th follower. I’m not sure how many of those followers are real human beings interested in trademark law, but it is a nice number. To follow the micro-blog, click on that little Twitter logo in the upper right hand corner.
Second, we passed the 500,000 mark for reads on Scribd. So the various complaints, motion papers and decisions I have embedded have been accessed 500,000 times. Handing out 500,000 photocopies of these documents to you would have been much more cumbersome.
I was in a Home Depot looking at cold patch asphalt, of which I know nothing. I happened to have my iPad and Googled ‘Does cold patch work?’ One of the top hits said that it works, but get it from a local asphalt plant, don’t buy the stuff at Home Depot.
ICANN’s (former) chairman and (soon-to-be former) CEO have stated that the new gTLDs will spur innovation.
Well, here’s hoping. Twitter created one of the most important information tools in history based on sleepy old texting. So why can’t we hope that someone will create something useful and exciting on top of the DNS.
The important Internet information tools – Google, Facebook, Twitter – these are applications built on top of public platforms. The founders didn’t have to ask anyone for permission, didn’t have to pay rent for use of the platform, didn’t have to submit their plans to public comment – didn’t have to ask anyone what they thought, other than the Market.
In contrast, here the gTLD entrepreneur is going to fill out a lengthy application, be subject to an examination process to determine that it’s in compliance with ‘consensus policies,’ be subject to third party comment – and if the new venture wants to make a mid-course correction, it can’t just ‘pivot’ (to use a hot buzz word), it has to apply to ICANN to change its plan. And, to start out in life, the gTLD entrepreneur will have to take $185,000 and burn it. And keep burning cash on ‘license fees.’
Look, the new gTLDs may be useful (in the sense that new developments in advertising are useful), and maybe we’ll be lucky and get something like a Google or a Twitter out of it, but let’s not kid ourselves as to whether this is about fostering innovation.
Who counterfeits cookies? This may be a ‘back door of the (Polish) factory’ scenario. Bahlsen alleges that counterfeit HIT cookies are being sold in a NY Gristedes supermarket. I love HIT cookies by the way.