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Company wants to trademark the term “Domain Auction”

New domain listings site wants a trademark on descriptive term.

From the merely descriptive file…

A Florida company has filed two trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “Domain Auction” and “Domains Auction”.

The applications, filed by Coracao LLC, claim a first use date of earlier this month.

Coracao’s trademark applications seem to be spurred by its recent launch of a domain name and website sales site at DomainAuction.xyz. The goods and services in the applications list “On-line auction services featuring domain names and web sites”.

If the company wants a stylized trademark for its totally rad logo, that’s one thing. But the term itself?

You can see the application for “Domain Auction” here (pdf).

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  1. John Berryhill

    Goods and Services: “On-line auction services featuring domain names and web sites”

    Pro tip: If the words constituting your “mark” are in the generic description of goods and services, you are going to have a problem…

  2. Ramiro Canales

    It will be denied as being a descriptive mark. Registration on the Supplemental Register is an option. However, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has repeatedly held that registration on the Supplemental Register does not confer ownership or exclusive rights to use.

  3. couponpages

    Don’t be so sure that the application will be denied.

    Because people who file these types of Trademarks simply removed the spaces between two or more words, the Trademark Office will often approve such Marks. It then becomes a tool to scare away ignorant domain owners, and merely a nuisance for savvy domainers.

    I’ve blogged about losing three generic domains because bugs in GoDaddy’s automated Trademark filters removed them from my account, even without a complaint from the Trademark owner… and in fact without any notification. Their automated system removed all three domains 3 weeks after they were successfully registered and placed in my account.

    What really bothered me was these were in no way unique words, so it boggles the mind that a Trademark of them could even exist.

    These were not Trademarked logos, just the word April, and Complete. To be clear, I’m not saying “AprilComplete” or “CompleteApril”, which would be considered unique… They were two entirely different domains. One was simply “April.xyx”, another was “Complete.xyz”.

    I’ve faced 4 or 5 claims from Trademark owners who used lawyers to try to take some of my domains, based upon their very generic descriptive Trademarks.

    Unlike the problem with GoDaddy’s flawed Trademark filter, they used lawyers to demand the domains, so I was able to easily prove their marks were worthless and I defended my right to own them.

    Still, it does bother me that the Patent and Trademark Office issued them their Trademarks in the first place. Think about it… somebody claimed to own the word “April”… and GoDaddy’s system used the very existence of that Trademark to take it away.

    (As a footnote, I had an hour long talk with GoDaddy’s CEO office over the 3 domains they took… While they didn’t think they could get them back, they claimed they are going to consider my suggestions to make changes to their platform to prevent future domains from the same fate. The next day, the CEO’s office called me again to let me know I was at risk of losing two more domains I had registered about 3 weeks prior for the same reason… and he took steps to insure they were secure. Time will tell whether they fix their system. Until then, beware.).

      • couponpages

        Tell me about it. That’s why Daniel Negari, the CEO of .XYZ and the GoDaddy CEO’s office got involved. I pointed out 4 specific flaws in their automated system that were the root of the problem.

        Daniel was pissed off too, so he was helpful in getting GoDaddy to listen to me. He didn’t have the authority to get my domains back, but it was good of him to get involved. As a consolation, he sent me a .xyz T-shirt.

        • Andrew Allemann

          Do you have any written communication about this? I’m not familiar with any sort of mechanism that would pull back a domain for trademark reasons. The only thing would be a pre-order on a domain that was claimed during sunrise.

          • couponpages

            Tons of communication. Email confirmations from GoDaddy from June 20th, which was past the pre-order stage and into general availability… followed by their cancellation emails 3 weeks later.

            Then, the day I lost the first couple of domains and spent more than an hour with GoDaddy as we tried to identify the cause, a series of emails to and from the CEO of .xyz.

            After spending all that time with them and having another domain “April.xyz” taken away less than a week later for the same reason, I asked them to check my account and let me know if the rest of my domains were safe. They said everything else looked fine, so I asked them to put it in writing. I needed it in writing so I could hold them accountable in the event that another was lost.

            I couldn’t get one person at GoDaddy to put it in writing, which was a sign that they didn’t trust their automated system enough to simply commit to it. This is when I decided I needed to reach out to the domain community and social media so that I could get their attention.

            The fact is, unless they fix some of the bugs in the system, a lot of people would be losing domains. Small domain buyers would walk away, large buyers would have white glove service managers looking over their accounts…. I’m in the middle. I have about 700 domains, which used to be enough to have a GoDaddy concierge / VIP rep who used to monitor my account for things like expired credit cards, etc… When I started to move my domains from my old reseller account to a separate account, half my domains were in one, half in the other and I was no longer considered a volume buyer and I lost my personal rep.

            In a nutshell, the little guys won’t notice and buy so few domains the bug may not matter… the big guys may have issues like mine, but their concierge will just fix them. For shlubs like me in the middle, we get crapped on.

          • couponpages

            Sure thing. I’ll zap them over when I get back to my desk. What troubles me most is that in spite of their claim to fix a lot of the bugs, I still don’t trust their platform or their policies are a safe place to register domains. With hundreds of domains, it’s costly and time consuming to move them to another registrar, so I hope they fix the system soon.

  4. Domainer Extraordinaire

    couponpages you’re embarrassing yourself by admitting you paid to register .xyzs.
    Godaddy did you a favor.

    • couponpages

      I completely agree. .xyz is the redheaded stepchild of the the new TLDs, which already are the redheaded stepchild of .Coms.

      The only reason I bought some was because of a few recent events.

      Google had a huge presentation a couple of months ago, where they went on and on about how seriously they are taking the new TLDs. In fact, Google is actually the company behind some TLDs that are just as stupid as .xyz.

      For example, among other things, Google will be rolling out these gems:

      .foo
      .boo
      .ing
      .ads
      .meme
      .zip

      Those are actual TLDs that Google is banking on, and they actually tried to make a credible argument for .foo in the presentation. The crowd applauded.. Talk about the Emperors New Clothes.

      They made a point to talk about their new domain portal’s role in promoting these new TLDs, because so few good .Coms are available. Reading between the lines, you get the feeling that Google will give all TLDs equal opportunities in search results, especially since they are the geniuses behind sure winners like .Foo and .Boo.

      The second factor in deciding to throw a few hundred dollars on some new TLDs like .xyz is that when I first started buying domains around 1996, I registered a bunch of coupon domains as alternate brands. Of them, the one that I thought was absolutely crap was a domain called “PrintableCoupons.Com”. I hated it as a brand, and never used it to build a site. It was long, and not exactly catchy, but I renewed it for more than a decade.

      Two years ago, I sold that worthless crappy name for $200,000.

      Odds are, in a couple of years, most of my new TLD domains will be a complete loss, but under the slim chance that some will be worth at least a few hundred dollars, that’s not a bad return.

        • couponpages

          I’d venture to say that nearly 95% of the new TLD purchases are from people who have no immediate plans to develop a commercial site, but are buying them as a potential investment.

          Some are just buying them for $12 bucks, then flipping them for a few hundred (not a bad ROI), or keeping them a few years to see if they ever catch on.

          The interesting thing is in the US, I can’t think of more than a handful of successful sites that weren’t a .Com. There are a handful of successful .Net sites, but I truly would have to think long and hard to find more than a dozen or so truly big ones.

          Beyond .Net, finding a truly successful site using any other TLD is extremely rare. That’s the challenge.

          At least in the US, in order for ANY of the new TLDs to succeed, the general public needs to be exposed to just one blockbuster site, that is not a .com.

          If a site with the broad appeal and popularity of Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. ever catches on with a non .Com name, EVERY non .Com TLD would immediately increase in value.

          It doesn’t matter too much which TLD takes off, it will take just one site under any of the new TLDs to make the all the new TLDs at least seem mainstream.

          Until then, whatever we pay for a new TLD is just a gamble.

          As a coupon guy, I grabbed some .Bargains and .Codes domains, plus since my site sends coupons via email, I grabbed some .email names, but other than that the only ones I grabbed were .xyz. It has a slight edge because it doesn’t mean anything in any specific country or language. So, even if it never catches on in the US, there’s a chance that it may become popular in another country. Nintendo calls their latest game machine Wii for the same reason, it’s not a word, and they can use the same name in every country.

          That’s also why Google is pushing things like .Foo and .Boo.

          • couponpages

            After reading what I wrote, it almost makes me think that the single best strategy one of the new TLD companies can use to guarantee long term success would be to create a handful of sites with broad appeal with their TLD.

            So, instead of slogans and hype, they’ve got to either encourage or develop a few great sites under their TLD. I honestly think that if the the majority of US consumers saw or heard an advertisement for a site that is not a mainstream TLD, they wouldn’t even know it was a web address.

            A billboard in Times Square could show a photo of a new widget with “widget.club” written under it and not even think it’s a web site.

            Even worse, I do a lot of tech work and I would say 50% of the people I come across don’t know what a URL is, or where to type it in the browser… assuming they know what a “Browser” is.

            I know this because I often help people on the phone and this is a very typical dialog:

            I say things like “Open your browser and go to microsoft.com”.

            They reply “Is that the thing with the e icon?”

            “Ok, you went to Microsoft.Com… right?”

            “yes”

            “Good, now click on the support tab on the top right”

            “I don’t see it”

            “You are on Microsoft.com… right?”

            “Yes. That’s what I typed”

            “Then it should be there, describe your page… is the blue and red logo on the left, with a black background?”

            “No, it just says… What you seek results page… I think I see Microsoft in the middle, should I click it?”

            “I see, you didn’t type Microsoft.com in the address bar like I asked… just do that now”

            “What’s the address bar? I don’t see anything like that… I just entered this in the search box”.

            After that I systematically try to get them to notice the real address bar, not the home page search box… not one of the search boxes in the 12 toolbars they downloaded… but the real one, which they have likely never seen.

            This sounds like I made it up, but I can’t tell you how often I see this script play out. There are a huge number of web surfers who barely understand domains, and they barely type .coms, because they type in search boxes that auto-fill and deliver search pages.

            The sick thing is today’s newer browsers have merged the search box with the address bar, so instead of going directly to the URL, the auto-suggest kicks in and they are getting results pages instead of going directly to the site, then often clicking a paid ad for the site they were trying to type in the URL for in the first place.

            [/vent off]

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