AOL stretches its trademarks beyond belief.
Apparently AOL thinks it owns every domain name that is some variation of “Advertising”.
The company just filed a lawsuit against Advertise.com. Advertise.com was formerly known as ABCsearch.com until it bought the domain name Advertise.com for an undisclosed price earlier his year.
The lawsuit claims:
…Advertise.com recently commenced use of the virtually identical and confusingly similar designation Advertise.com and design in connection with the same and complimentary services as those offered by Plaintiffs under their federally-registered Advertising.com name and marks and their Ad.com name and marks.
AOL claims this could cause confusion amongst people who think Advertise.com is endorsed by or affiliated with AOL’s Advertising.com and Ad.com trademarks.
Of course, AOL’s claim of trademark rights to Ad.com is dubious at best. The company is struggling to get approval for the trademark with the USPTO. AOL has never owned the domain name Ad.com, but has called its Advertising.com unit Ad.com in the past.
AOL’s claim to Ad.com mark is part of the reason that the $1.4M sale of Ad.com fell through and is subject to a lawsuit.
A search of the USPTO database shows that AOL has three registered trademarks for Advertising.com, but all are design trademarks. Based on recent cases for challenged trademarks such as Hotels.com, the company would not be able to get a trademark simply for the word “Advertising” on the principal register.
Lawsuit complaint is here (pdf).
Hat tip George Kirikos.
Update: Advertise.com also filed suit against AOL, perhaps as a preemptive lawsuit.