Yes it can, if you violate a Trademark, whether you realize you’re in violation or not.
This issue has caught my attention for two reasons this week. (1) I just heard about a home-based business owner who’s being sued over a Trademark violation, and (2) One of my Private Forum Members was thinking about registering a domain name that could be considered in violation of a Trademark. Luckily, that person asked about it in the Private Forum, and it was pointed out before anything bad could happen.
Lots of home-based EBiz owners either don’t think that they’ll ever be caught up in something like this, or don’t understand what to be careful of. It’s something that’s important to keep in mind. It does happen. Like I said, I know of a case in court right now where a home-based eBiz Owner violated a company Trademark, and is likely spending a fortune right now trying to defend himself in court. Whether he did it on purpose or not, well, that’s for the jury to decide at this point.
The particulars of that case don’t really matter. The important thing is that you understand the basics of Trademarks and steer your business clear of violating them.
So, here are the things you’ll want to keep in mind. There are two very common ways to violate Trademarks. Inappropriate domain names, and counterfeit products.
1. Inappropriate domain names:
Registering a domain name for your web site is easy. Go to one of the countless hosting sites that register domains, pick one, pay a few bucks and you’re on your way.
If you pick the wrong one, though, you could be on your way to court.
Let’s say you’re going to sell Wilson tennis racquets online, and it seems like a really good idea to you to register the domain name WilsonTennisRacquetsOnline.com. That’s actually a very bad idea, because the company that makes Wilson tennis racquets undoubtedly has the name Wilson Trademarked in relation to their products. That domain name would be in violation of their Trademark.
Be sure you keep the names of other companies and their specific product names (for example, the word “iPod”) OUT of your domain names. Doing anything else is asking for trouble.
(Legal disclaimer: “Wilson” and “iPod” are the intellectual property of their respective Trademark holders and are used here simply as examples). See what I mean? You have to be careful!
If you want to find out if any of the major words in a domain name you’re thinking about registering is Trademarked, go here and click the “Search Marks” button. That’ll tell you whether you need to steer clear of the word(s) you’re considering.
2. Counterfeit products:
There are a LOT of counterfeit products coming out of places like China these days. Products that look like name-brand merchandise, and even have the actual name brands ON them. If they are not made by the company that owns the trademark, they are counterfeit, and you should NOT sell them. I know that lots of people think that if they can get cheap knock-offs at a low price they can make a lot of money on them.
Well, maybe they will. I hope so, because they’ll need a lot of money for legal defense when the Trademark owners catch up to them.
Remember that it’s very difficult if not impossible for these Trademark owners in the US to sue the counterfeit manufacturers in China, so they do the next best thing; they go after the people they can get to in the US. That means you, and you don’t want to be in that situation.
(a) Please be careful when registering domain names to sell name brand products
(b) Never use another company’s name or Trademarked words in your domain name
(c) NEVER sell counterfeit goods.
You can make plenty of money online without having to worry about getting sued over Trademark violations!
This article has been provided by Chris Malta's blog. Find more great information about your online business on Chris's site. HERE.