USPS’ challenge to Google over .mail top level domain is denied.
Last week, a World Intellectual Property Organization panelist delivered some bad news to the The United States Postal Service: its challenge to Amazon.com’s application to run the .mail top level domain was denied.
Now the group’s challenge to Google’s bid to run .mail has also been returned to sender.
The USPS suggested that it has some sort of rights to the term “mail”, in part because people in the United States associate the world mail with the organization. Not surprisingly, this argument has fallen flat.
Here’s what panelist Michael Albert had to say about the USPS’ logic:
First, Objector contends that the public associates “mail” with the USPS. However, Objector nowhere claims that it possesses trademark rights in the standalone term “mail.” To the contrary, Objector routinely disclaimed “mail” when registering its U.S. MAIL Marks…
Second, Objector cites as evidence of the alleged association between the USPS and “mail” several dictionary definitions of “mail.” The definitions describe materials carried in “the postal system” or refer to “a nation’s postal system” itself. Rather than demonstrating that Objector has trademark rights in the term “mail,” these definitions suggest that “mail” is simply a generic term for any national postal system, which, in the United States, happens to be Objector. But the fact that Objector has a legal monopoly over delivering mail in the United States does not give Objector a linguistic monopoly over the common noun “mail.” By analogy, although the phrase “President of the United States” refers (at any given time) to a single individual, that individual does not for that reason own trademark rights in the common noun “president.” Likewise, the USPS’s legal monopoly over the delivery of physical mail within the United States does not give it trademark rights in the common noun “mail.”
USPS filed objections to all seven of the original applicants for .mail at a cost of about $10,000 per objection. Two of the applicants later withdrew their applications, leaving five total objections.