For domain investors, buying expired domains is one of the best ways to acquire domains at wholesale prices…the challenge is, even the most well-respected marketplaces in the world don’t check to see if the inventory they’re selling infringes on any Trademarks.
I was looking through expired domain name listings on Go Daddy and found a domain that is seeing quite a bit of interest but that IMO is a clear Trademark violation – the name is Windows64.com.
Note: I am writing this post on Friday and scheduled it for Saturday. Right about now I am backpacking in the middle of the woods in Northern California! This means that if you look at the auction now…it probably has even more bidders.
It should come as no surprise that Microsoft has a Trademark on Windows and yes, Windows does have a 32 bit and 64 bit version so it’s going to be pretty hard for the new owner to tell Microsoft’s lawyers that this isn’t infringing. Now if this was WindowsForLess.com or WindowsForCondos.com, maybe you’d have a shot, but this is a tough one.
That being said as you can see, it’s on Go Daddy, the biggest domain name company in the world, and they will make money on this auction no matter what. I’ve heard people in the past say things like, “well if the domain is listed for sale at a major marketplace, especially a public company like Go Daddy, then they must have done something to ensure it doesn’t infringe on any Trademarks.”
The answer here is no – marketplaces that sell expired domains aren’t doing a deep dive to make sure the inventory that they’re selling doesn’t violate any Trademarks. They are in the business of selling domains, not making sure that everything works out hunky-dory for you after you buy the domain.
So next time you have your eye on an expired domain, do your homework. Hop on over to USPTO.gov and do a quick Trademark search, it can save you a lot of pain and money.