I hope people don't get too carried away with just blindly flaming referee magazine and the system and general over this.
As usual I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think it's too much of a threat. Even through I'm personally against this sort of thing, there's not enough context given in the writeup to tell exactly what's going on and to what extent.
At first it seems as if Referee magazine is trying to trademark the English language, but what they're probably doing is just trying to steer clear of any confusion between two domain names. referee.com and ereferee.com (now officiating.com) are both online sports magazines. From memory, you're allowed to trademark words within a localised context of use. With that in mind, Referee magazine would be able to complain about any other sports magazines that try to use a similar name..
In the same way, Microsoft would be able to complain about a software company called Microsift - if they felt it was threatening their name. Otherwise Microsift could start putting out software that people might wrongly associate with Microsoft. On the other hand, they wouldn't be able to complain about a kitchen appliance company named Microsift. There's just not enough confusion there.
So referee.com is probably worried about two things:
- ereferee.com might start publishing material that could give the referee.com a bad reputation, even though they're not connected
- ereferee.com could be stealing customers from referee.com unfairly, by having a similar name and simply cashing in on the referee.com name.
Again, I'm not completely in favour of being able to trademark domain names, but I don't think it's as bad as the story makes out. If anyone can correct me on any of this, please do.
jesterzog Fight the light