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10|06|2007 03:11 am EDT

SnapNames.com Kills Off SwapNames.com

by Adam Strong in Categories: Domain Aftermarket, Legal Issues

SwapNames.com, a recently launched business which allows domain owners to trade domain names was sued by SnapNames.com a business which generally allows users to buy domains in after-market auctions. SwapNames.com has forfeited their domain name and agreed to conduct business under a new domain. The case and details for “SnapNames.Com, Inc. v. SwapNames, Incorporated” can be found on the PACER system

According to the USPTO.gov website SnapNames.com has trademark #2721965 which applies to the following:

IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: REGISTRATION OF DOMAIN NAMES FOR IDENTIFICATION OF USERS ON A GLOBAL COMPUTER NETWORK, NAMELY, REGISTRATION SERVICES FOR BACK-ORDERING OF DOMAIN USERS ALREADY REGISTERED; AND PROVIDING DATABASES FEATURING GENERAL AND LOCAL NEWS AND INFORMATION OF INTEREST IN THE FIELD OF DOMAIN NAMES AND THE INTERNET. FIRST USE: 20001207. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20001207

IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: DOMAIN NAME MONITORING AND TRACKING, NAMELY, DOMAIN NAME MONITORING AND NOTIFICATION SERVICES, NAMELY, MONITORING OF A DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION RECORD AND NOTIFYING OTHERS OF STATUS AND CHANGES TO THAT RECORD; AND DOMAIN NAME AUCTION SERVICES. FIRST USE: 20001207. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20001207

SwapNames.com did not appear to have a US trademark, but they also did not appear to be conducting business in the same manner as SnapNames. However, SwapNames.com will be changing their domain name to Zuho.com to comply with the request.  A Namepros member The owner posted his the owners side of the story on Namepros.com from an email he received.

Even tough (sic) we are absolutely certain that the allegation is baseless; we do not have the finances to hire an attorney to defend our case in court. As far as we know, a descriptive and generic phrase such as “swap names” cannot be infringing in anyway. However, to defend the lawsuit will certainly bankrupt our company, just from the hefty legal expenses.

The general response from the domainer crowd on this thread seems to be that SnapNames.com is bullying SwapNames.com. Some have even pointed to this case and calling it a case of reverse domain hijacking. There seems to be a huge dose of irony in a company in the domain business, which has previously been caught up in trademark infringement claims, going after another domain company on a trademark infringement claim.

I missed this recent post over at Namepros but found out about this story on Elliot Silver’s Blog. Graphic concept stolen from Jay ;)

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5 Comments

John McCormac

October 6, 2007 @ 11:23 am EDT

There is almost something Karmic about this. Snapnames tries to kill off the Swapnames brand and it, in turn, ends up getting killed off by Namejet.

DNHour.com

October 7, 2007 @ 3:25 am EDT

“The owner posted his side of the story on Namepros.com”…. This is not the case. Swapnames sent out a notification email to all it’s members regarding the change of domain name with NO intention for it to be posted on the forums.

Somehow, one of it’s members started the thread at Namepros and posted the email there. From then on, many has come in to voice their concerns.

Swapnames has been silent on this to avoid further troubles.

Tim Davids

October 7, 2007 @ 9:27 am EDT

How fitting your next story is about namejet…snap should have been worried about that rather than a small company that does something different and inovative.

DomainerPro

October 7, 2007 @ 12:05 pm EDT

SnapNames was out of line in bringing this suit. Swapnames may sound similar and be only one letter different, but it’s name is precisely descriptive of what it offers: people swap names. Snapnames on the other hand, has a creative name that does not describe its service exactly.

Dan

October 7, 2007 @ 8:29 pm EDT

Hi,

Pure case of ‘bulling’…very unnecessary…not a good move by snapnames on a bunch of different levels. Swapnames…not even close to having the same business model snapnames.

Peace!
Dan

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