I am being threatened for infringement.
I started a simple blog not too long ago, and I came up with the name “exploreamor” (exploreamor.wordpress.com) on my own because I enjoy exploring/traveling, and I am of Spanish decent. I wanted to blog about my adventures in travel, food, fashion, etc. (nothing fancy).
It was just something I wanted to try, and I haven’t been super active with keeping up with it. However I was recently contacted by someone named David Chamberlain who claims to be the owner of a start-up company called “Explore Amor” (exploreamor.com). He claims that I am violating a trademark, even though he stated that the name itself has not been trademarked yet but is in pending. I have been threatened with legal action, but I don’t believe I have done anything wrong. Honestly, I had never heard of the company before he contacted me, and I do not believe that I have any reason to change my blog’s name, especially since the name was not trademarked before I started the blog, and it does not interfere with his business.
Is my domain name violating any intellectual property laws? What will happen to my website? Am I allowed to sell the domain if I wanted to?
The blog I need help with is exploreamor.wordpress.com.
You don’t own the domain name. exploreamor.com is a domain name. Do a Google search on “whois”. For example you’ll find this: http://www.whois.com/domain-registration/?query=exploreamor.com&tld%5B%5D=com&tld%5B%5D=net&tld%5B%5D=org&tld%5B%5D=biz&tld%5B%5D=us
But you do own the username/account/blog called exploreamor.wordpress.com
Keep in mind that I’m not a lawyer, and I’m a volunteer on these forums, and WordPress.com does not give legal advice, but (IMO) I don’t think they (wp.com) will take your blog-name away from you.
Just so you’ll get an official answer to this question, I’ve put a modlook for staff to see and comment on this topic. Subscribe so you will be notified when there is a response.
As far as selling your wp.com username/acccount/blog there are ways to transfer the ownership so if you get enough $$$ it is possible.
Let’s see what staff says…
How are you violating a trademark, if the name is not trademarked?(according to Mr Chamberlain).
I think he found you are your website ranks on the first page of google for the term “exploreamor”.
In addition I looked up his whois information and it seems his domain expires on: 2013-12-14 00:28:45 GMT. I really would not worry about this at all. In my opinion if it was serious, he would get a lawyer to ask you to stop rather than contacting you himself.
If the name is not trademarked yet, I suggest you contact the trademark office and tell them about your blog. They can use that as evidence his application should be refused, since the word is already associated with a longstanding website.
He is trying to bluff you. He has no legal standing, but is asking everyone who might use the word to stop, just in case they somehow agree. Don’t.
To add to my comment above, if you decide to transfer ownership of your http://exploreamor.wordpress.com/ blog to this other person, well, (my skeptical self and only my opinion) I would cash the check before the transaction…
Bingo. And don’t take Paypal, because they can rescind it.
A friend of mine went through a similar experience recently, and she got an excellent lawyer to work for her pro bono. By the time he was through with that company, they almost decided to change their own name.
WordPress.com won’t ask you to give up your registered blog. Heck, they get people who actually own companies saying “our employee got fired, but we want the blog he started for our business” and they say no.
Her blog is only 4 months old. Even so, she is not impersonating anyone, nor is she violating any one’s right to a trademark. Not me a lawyer but for example, the Domino Sugar case vs Domino Pizza was much more convoluted than this will ever be.
Check out http://www.uspto.gov/
That is the OFFICIAL website for patents and trademarks. On that website, you can search for trademarks, and even see ones that are “pending,” as he says.
There is also a section on trademark availability vs. “.com” address registration. They say it is not the same thing:
Wow, if your wordpress blog is that threatening, good for you! It sounds like success to me! It’s like the wild west out there for intellectual property (and art) law, according to a lawyer friend. Good Luck to you!
In the US it is.
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