What constitutestrademark infringement?

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What constitutestrademark infringement?

I registered the domain name rchobbyexplosion.info I made sure to check the US Trademark Office to make sure it was not a registered trademark. I created a website with this domain and sold the website to a client. I was recently contacted by the owner of rchobbyexplosion.com and he is threatening me with legal action if I do not take the website down. Does he have a case with either ICANN or in Court? Second part the domain was registered private and he contacted my registrar and in the email refereed to the person(s) who registered this domain as scumbags do I have a defamation case?

Asked on September 15, 2010 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Trademarks do NOT need to be registered to be enforceable. Registered trademarks get extra protection, but all that is required to create a trademark is it meets the requirements (e.g. original, etc.), is used to identify goods or services (though in the latter case, it's technically a "service mark"--same thing, different name, for all practial purposes), and the creator assets ownership of it in some way, such as by using "TM" next to the mark. If it's a trademark, even if not registered, you probably can't use it, though issues of whether it's actually in use in commerce, when created, etc. come up. If you want to consider contesting it, contact an attorney to evaluate the full situation for you in detail

Calling someone a "scumbag" is  NOT defamation. Name calling is not defamation. Making a false negative statement of fact, such as by saying to a third party, "the scumbag who registered this is a drug dealer" could be actionable--because of the claim that you are a drug dealer (a factual statement) not the name calling (which is just an opinion, and not actionable).


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