Friday, March 13, 2009

Pirelli Group

I had an interesting twitter conversation today about Trademark squatting, which occurs when you buy a domain that contains someone's trademark. One of the domains in question was found on HotNameList today: PirelliGroup.com . This domain is similar to Pirelli (the tire company), and is actually the name of the holding company that owns Pirelli.

HotNameList has some tools to look for Trademarked domains, but they're not perfect. We show information about trademarks as a column in our list of names, when the trademarks are very common. But basically, our policy is "buyer beware" (also known as: "We tell people about bullets, but we're not responsible for what they do with guns.")

There is no way our list Editor (me) can know about every product and every trademark in the world. The professional tools for searching for trademarks really require a lawyer to decide if infringement is occurring. IANAL, so the buyer of the domain needs to do their due-diligence and decide whether to buy it. HotNameList is not able to do the TM search for a list of available domain names that is provided for free!

In fact, trademark owners are more than welcome to use HotNameList to look for their trademarks, and register their domains. They may even get type-in traffic! And, for what it's worth, if you're woried about your own trademark and want us to do a search: order a custom list! I'm so against trademark squatting that I've contacted quite a few TM owners in the past to let them know they are missing important domains.

But here's my beef: If a multi-billion dollar company that calls itself the Pirelli Group doesn't own PirelliGroup.com by 2009, is it really Trademark squatting to buy that domain?

If you were to buy that domain, ICAAN's rules say Pirelli can try to get it back from you using UDRP. Because you are a trademark infringer! It does not matter that the owner of the trademark isn't doing a good job protecting it.

So buyer beware.

Happy Domain Hunting!
Jorge

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