Technology

GoDaddy claims trademark infringement for Go-Daddy domain purchased from GoDaddy

Today I received a call from a gentlemen who wondered about my relationship to NoDaddy.com, a site that lambastes GoDaddy for its business practices.

After I got to speaking to John, I was amazed at what was happening to him. John purchased GO-DADDY-DOMAINS.COM and GO-DADDY-DOMAIN.COM from… who else… GoDaddy.com. I’m not sure whether or not John was surprised that he was able to purchase the domains, but I was!

If you’re wondering if John is a squatter or trying to take advantage of GoDaddy, I don’t believe so. He knew there was an opportunity in purchasing the domains, but I don’t think his intent was evil. Speaking to John on the phone, I get the feeling that he doesn’t know this industry inside and out, he just saw an opportunity and jumped on it.

GoDaddyThis is where it gets interesting:

From: Infringements
To: John
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 1:08:25 PM
Subject: GO-DADDY-DOMAINS.COM and GO-DADDY-DOMAIN.COM Trademark Infringement

It has come to our attention that two domain names you have registered are infringing upon one or more of GoDaddy.com trademarks.

As you may be aware, GoDaddy.com is a registered trademark of GoDaddy.com. We are writing as a courtesy to inform you that your use of the term “Go Daddy” in your domain name or a domain name that is substantially the same e or confusingly similar to the “Go Daddy” mark is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace and would therefore likely be construed as a violation of the GoDaddy.com trademark.

As a result, we would like to refund you for your purchase of these domains and move the domains into our account.

Please be so kind as to initiate a change of account to this email address within 10 days. If you have any questions on this process, please contact me by replying to this email.

Thank you,

Karen Newbury
Trademark Administrator
GoDaddy.com

So now GoDaddy, who SOLD the domains to John, is now going after John for trademark infringement?! Imagine that!? I could actually empathize if John purchased the domain from a competitor… but GoDaddy sold it to him!!! It’s like walking into a Starbucks, walking out with a cup of coffee and then getting threatened by Starbucks for owning the coffee.

Shame on GoDaddy. It’s pretty ridiculous that they haven’t taken the necessary steps to a) register alternative domains or b) at least put a block on their own service so they don’t sell it themselves. I’m convinced that GoDaddy doesn’t just sell with boobs, they’re run by boobs as well.

If you know of a good attorney that can help John out, please comment on this blog with some contact information. John will be reading the comments.

20 Comments

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      I serached some good domain names and left it to buy later and Go daddy grabbed and registererd under their name.

      Thsi is day light robbery. John don’t give up!!

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    I don’t know of any lawyers, but I know of two blogs who might be interested in the story

    Techdirt.com

    DomainNameNews.com

    They might know of some legal dudes to help.

    (I didn’t know all of this stuff about GoDaddy – that’s where I’ve been buying all my domains!!! Grrr )

    • 7

      Thanks for those links Nathania! I’ve submitted the story to both of those sites. As for your GoDaddy account, you can always wait until they’re about to expire and then transfer them. Dotster usually has a discount transfer.

      I just appreciate the fact that they are the only domain registrar that requires legal paperwork before they do anything to a customer.

      Thanks again!
      Doug

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    Thanks for the pointer to Domain Name News Nathania. I’m actually surprised Godaddy hasn’t come after NoDaddy.com as well.

    Godaddy actually also has in their TOS something to the effect of the domain owner has to pay for any legal action (such as a UDRP) that is brought through godaddy. So I wonder did this guy have to pay up for that as well ? Or since it was handled through godaddy internally maybe they bypassed those fees. 🙂

    This whole thing looks pretty harmless on both sides. A guy makes a mistake. Godaddy emails him and tells him so and offers to refund him his money. He should just take the money back and walk away. No harm. No Foul. In fact just as my 2cents in this. He should take the offering of his money back as a blessing . . . now he can go register some better names.

    Speaking of godaddy and dotster . Frank (my 2nd in command at domain name news) wrote this piece that sheds some light on both companies.
    http://www.domaineditorial.com/archives/2007/06/03/registrars-parking-your-sub-domain-for-you/

    Lastly, as for lawyers (if it’s even necessary to bother. . .which I don’t think it’s worth his time to hassle with) . He can look to John Berryhill (johnberryhill.com) or Ari Goldberger (esqwire.com) or Paul Keating (renovaltd.com) among many others. If you google their names you’ll find more info on their successes in handling these cases. I suspect they will say something similar to what I advised. Give the names back. Get your money back. Move on and buy a few better names at a different registrar 😉

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      This is very interesting. I have owned rackdaddy.com and rackdaddy.net since 2001. both are registered with a different registrar, not GoDaddy.Com. I did sign up early this year for a GoDaddy.Com affiliate program and both domains re-direct to their servers. Essentially making GoDaddy.Com my business partner on this venture.

      Today I got a form email from GoDaddy.Com with the following in the body:

      We hereby demand that you immediately: cease and desist your unauthorized use of these domains, cancel the forwarding of these domain names; and transfer the domain names to GoDaddy.com by November 16, 2007.

      I am wondering what Trademark they would be referring to, as I doubt they could hardly have a Trademark on the word ?Daddy?. If so every child should save up their allowance to pay for the right to say ?Daddy?…

  5. 11

    This is too hilarious at first glance. But if you check this out keenly, yes, godaddy did right thing. John’s intention was surely not to develop something which was not about Godaddy on this domain name. It’s good to not to get into legal hassles but get the money back and book some other domain name, and finish it off.

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    They say: “we would like to refund you for your purchase of these domains and move the domains into our account.” They seem to be saying that they want to but the domain names back. Maybe it was a bureaucratic snafu and they should not have sold them to begin with and now they are bringing in legal muscle along with a refund to get them back.

    Looks more like incompetence than sinister intent.

  7. 13

    The first course of action is to find out if “Go Daddy” is, in fact, a registered trademark and not just an assertion of possession of a registered trademark.
    Secondly, a link to GoDaddy.com on any allegedly offending pages will greatly mitigate any asserted ‘confusion’ issues regarding similiar sounding domain names.
    The fact that the offending domains were, in fact, sold by GoDaddy will have great weight in favor of John. John has a contract with GoDaddy who, it seems, waived their rights to assert any infringement issue because they sold (a sales contract) the domain names to John.

    My suggestion is to consider selling the offending domains back to GoDaddy.com for $25,000 each.

    • 14

      There are 3 trademarks for godaddy.com, 3 for go daddy, and 1 for go daddy software. Look them up at the USPTO.Gov site. Seeing as the trademarks cover domains as a service, I would assume that any use of the domains GO-DADDY-DOMAINS.COM and GO-DADDY-DOMAIN.COM would likely violate their marks.

      Also, John does indeed have a contract with godaddy and in the contract that he agreed to, it states (among many other things)

      “Go Daddy expressly reserves the right to deny, cancel or transfer any registration that it deems necessary, in its discretion, to protect the integrity and stability of the registry, to comply with any applicable laws, government rules or requirements, requests of law enforcement, in compliance with any dispute resolution process, or to avoid any liability, civil or criminal, on the part of Go Daddy, as well as its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors and employees. Go Daddy also reserves the right to freeze a domain name during resolution of a dispute.”

      and

      “Go Daddy reserves the right to charge a reasonable service fee for administrative tasks outside the scope of its regular services. These include, but are not limited to, customer service issues that cannot be handled over email but require personal service, and disputes that require legal services. These charges will be billed to the Payment Method we have on file for You. You may change your Payment Method at any time by logging into Your Account Manager.”

      All can be seen when you read the agreement during registration (that no one reads apparently) or at the link below
      http://www.godaddy.com/gdshop/legal_agreements/show_doc.asp?isc=gppg101204&pageid=REG%5FSA

      The advice to consider selling these domains to godaddy is bad advice. Take the refund money move on. Mistake made. Lesson learned. Godaddy learned a lesson on this too I’m sure.

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    I hate godaddy. They took my domain because someone post some porn pic but even my datacenter did not say anything, but godaddy. If you registered with godaddy, basically they own your domain. They charge $75 to release to you…their business practice is just no good and abusing their power.

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    This is not a story at all, well to be honest godaddy should have bought the domain. the fact that it was sold from godaddy, albeit any registrar can sell any domain is utter stupid fact from you.

    if they provide an infringement of copyright then they are doing it on right grounds. well i am sure he would not have brought to promote his t-shirt, he was aware of buying the domain.

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    Sorry guys. It is classic cybersquatting. There is no requirement – and indeed it would be impossible- to capture every typo, variation and extension for your trademarks. Defensive registration may be a good idea for some of the obvious ones, but it is not required. And the Anti-Cybersquatting Act creates liability of $100,000+ for registration on known trademarks. Check out these resources for more info:

    Cybersquatting & Domain Trademark Blog

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