I won’t be changing my personal name to DomainNameWire.com anytime soon.
Here’s an interesting court decision handed down by the Court of Appeal in California.
Robert Edward Forchion, Jr., a self proclaimed “dedicated marijuana lover”, wanted to change his statutory name to NJWeedman.com. He has gone by the name NJWeedman for a while and operates a web site at NJWeedman.com.
The appeal court affirmed that Forchion can’t change his name to NJWeedman.com. Among other reasons, he might fail to control the domain name in the future.
A statutory name change to NJweedman.com would last indefinitely. But Forchion might lose the use of his Web site by failing to make periodic registration payments or by breaching the registration agreement. In that event, the Web site name (NJweedman.com) could be registered to someone else and, at the same time, Forchion could keep his new personal name (NJweedman.com). If both parties used that name to conduct business, confusion might result. Further, even if Forchion were allowed to adopt NJweedman.com as his personal name, and he properly maintained it as the name of his
Web site, the name might be so similar to another Web site name or trademark that the multiple usage would create confusion.
Alternatively, the name change would associate Forchionâ€˜s new personal name with the Web siteâ€˜s advice that individuals violate the law in several respects. A name change should not have that consequence.
(Hat tip: Bret Fausett)