Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Truly generic domains?

By Anonymous Commando in News
Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:52:06 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

As I'm sure you've all heard by now, ICANN has started outlining the process for adding new generic top-level domains (TLDs). One of the examples they mentioned was .banc, which has brought comments along the lines of "Who would want that? People will try using .bank instead or .banc!" Well, why shouldn't that work?

The DNS system could be truly internationalized, instead of being biased towards English as it currently stands. What if, instead of creating single TLDs, we could create a class of TLDs? For example, instead of .banc, there would be a "financial institution" class that includes:

  • .bank (English)
  • .banque (French)
  • .banca (Italian)
and so on. A company would only have to register once in this TLD class, which would give them:
  • [company].bank
  • [company].banque
  • [company].banca
etc. etc. All the translation would take place at the root server level, and shouldn't require any updates to the extended DNS infrastructure (i.e. ISP's DNS servers). I see a number of benefits for this:
  • Makes the Internet more user-friendly for users in predominantly non-English countries
  • Could make domain squatting less prevalent? (not sure about that one)
  • On the server side (using HTTP/1.1 Host headers), content can be customized based on the actual TLD used
What does everyone else think? Good idea, needs work, dead horse still being flogged?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o ICANN has started outlining the process for adding new generic top-level domains
o Also by Anonymous Commando

Display: Sort:
Truly generic domains? | 43 comments (43 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
If you are starting to translate fo... (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by inspire on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:04:02 PM EST

inspire voted 1 on this story.

If you are starting to translate for some languages, then the question arises, as a truly global communications network, the Internet should then provide .banc translations to /all/ languages.

More than a bit difficult to implement as a lot of (especially Asian) countries have languages that need several bytes to express a character or word - this is one of the great problems facing Internet usage in some parts of the world.
What is the helix?

too much redundancy....... (none / 0) (#8)
by hooty on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:19:51 PM EST

hooty voted 1 on this story.

too much redundancy....

TLD's are to the point that they no... (4.50 / 2) (#10)
by slycer on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:22:04 PM EST

slycer voted 0 on this story.

TLD's are to the point that they no longer matter. How many commercial companies have you seen that have .org extensions to them? How many .net extensions for a company that has nothing to do with networks? How many johnsmith.com names are there?

You might make an argument that the above is caused by not having the choices of extra tld's - but how can any TLD be enforced. *cough* Yes, I have a bank named <insert> - I'd like a domain name with that please. More tld's just means more attempted duplication of domainnames (whitehouse.com anybody?)

Re: TLD's are to the point that they no... (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by Zach on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 07:35:07 PM EST

The internet is a new thing. As people gain knowledge, and as the internet becomes more of a way of life these new TLDs will need to be used. The people will learn that not everything is .com. They will learn that if it's a non profit organization, then .org. Banks are .bank, porn is .porn, and e-commerce is .store etc. Just because right now people are ignorant doesn't mean that they will be forever and that TLDs are useless. I would favor some sort of restrictions of what kind of company can reserve a .bank, or a .org. Someone selling books shouldn't be able to reserve .bank, etc...

[ Parent ]
Interesting idea. Most people try .... (none / 0) (#15)
by Rich on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:23:36 PM EST

Rich voted 1 on this story.

Interesting idea. Most people try .com or .co.country (ZA) in my case and if that dosnt work they try a search engine. What would be quite interesting if on the browser level a function was built in so that you would just try a name eg. books and it would check all of that countries TLD's and then the international (American) ones.
I Expect history will be kind to me as i intend to write is. Winston Churchill

Sounds like an interesting idea. I ... (none / 0) (#11)
by eries on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:50:52 PM EST

eries voted 1 on this story.

Sounds like an interesting idea. I don't really know enough about the DNS infrastructure to comment intelligently, but I'm sure there are others that can speak to the feasibility of something like this...
Promoting open-source OO code reuse on the web: the Enzyme open-source project

I have an idea! Why don't we just s... (none / 0) (#6)
by End on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:51:12 PM EST

End voted 1 on this story.

I have an idea! Why don't we just switch to AOL-style keywords at the DNS level!

Seriously, I don't care what they do to the DNS system, as long as they don't make it wierd and complicated.


This sounds pretty neat. What about... (2.00 / 1) (#17)
by brotherhayashi on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:57:48 PM EST

brotherhayashi voted 1 on this story.

This sounds pretty neat. What about a law that prevents a corporation from buying more than one domain? It makes me sick when I see the new .cc advertising campaign: "If you want a .com domain that is already taken, buy the .cc domain. If you have a .com domain, buy the .cc domain to protect your Internet brand." I'm not sure which is worse: that or the InterNIC idea that companies should "protect their Internet brand" by buying up the .org, .com, and .edu domains. If only InterNIC enforcd the original domain guidelines. Only multinational corporations would have .com names. All personal sites would have .nom names, etc....The other day the church bulletin of a church whose site I developed ran www.<church name>.com, even though the domain name I got them was .org. Somehow, someone over there just assumed: "Ahh! we have a website, it must be .com!" That really pissed me off!

Having not read any of the ICANN li... (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by eann on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:01:04 PM EST

eann voted 1 on this story.

Having not read any of the ICANN literature on the subject, I can only say it looks like a good idea to me.

Except that we'll get to a situation where it's difficult to pick a synonym in a particular language. Using an urban legend to make my point, if they created [en].snow, and someone wanted to register site for inuits to talk about the weather, which of the 37 (or however many there are in the version you heard) words for snow would they print on their advertising? And what if [en].ice were something different; what do you do with, for instance, tropical tongues that don't distinguish between the two?

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.

I like the idea. I don't know how ... (none / 0) (#13)
by hurstdog on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:08:11 PM EST

hurstdog voted 1 on this story.

I like the idea. I don't know how old it is, or if your the first to say it, but it could go a long way towards making the internet easier for the masses.

I've always wanted a .hood domain n... (none / 0) (#4)
by Zarniwoop on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:10:34 PM EST

Zarniwoop voted 1 on this story.

I've always wanted a .hood domain name. I mean, think of the possibilities! da.hood, my.hood, compton.hood, straightouttada.hood... :)

Re: I've always wanted a .hood domain n... (none / 0) (#21)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 05:13:09 PM EST

Don't forget neighbor.hood, mother.hood, father.hood, parent.hood, child.hood, robin.hood, car.hood, underthe.hood...

[ Parent ]
... (none / 0) (#14)
by Oxryly on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:13:46 PM EST

Oxryly voted 1 on this story.

There should be much discussion of the future of the top-level domain name system... bring it on!

Great idea, but how many sites woul... (none / 0) (#12)
by jmcneill on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:18:55 PM EST

jmcneill voted 1 on this story.

Great idea, but how many sites would actually impliment this? I've had to visit sites in a different language when their english site was down *cough* Samsung *cough* and the pages were entirely different.
``Of course it runs NetBSD.''

Re: Great idea, but how many sites woul... (none / 0) (#23)
by TheLocust on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 05:38:00 PM EST

I agree with this. After all, remember the tiny island of Tuvaloo? With its TLD of .TV? Well, check out www.tv and find out what PORN.TV is currently bidding for. Interesting. Even good ol' Kuro5hin.tv can be registered for $100.
.......o- thelocust -o.........
ignorant people speak of people
average people speak of events
great people speak of ideas

[ Parent ]
Re: Great idea, but how many sites woul... (none / 0) (#27)
by KindBud on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 08:54:03 PM EST

DotTV is the ultimate corporate domain hierarchy. notworth1000dollars.tv can be had for - guess what - $1000. All DotTV names are out of reach of an ordinary individual with bills to pay.

DotTV names are $1000, not $100, unless they changed it recently. Even if they did, notworth100dollars.tv is still $100.

just roll a fatty

[ Parent ]

Marginally interesting.... (none / 0) (#1)
by jdanhires on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:21:30 PM EST

jdanhires voted 1 on this story.

Marginally interesting.

I think the multinational TLDs are ... (none / 0) (#18)
by DontEatTheGlass on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:37:29 PM EST

DontEatTheGlass voted 1 on this story.

I think the multinational TLDs are a neat idea. But I think that if a company automatically gets a whole class of TLDs when it registers for one will make domain squatting worse.
If you understand, things are just as they are.
If you do not understand, things are just as they are.

Re: I think the multinational TLDs are ... (none / 0) (#22)
by um... lucas on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 05:34:59 PM EST

I'd actually think that we'd be better off if the .com, .net, etc was completely arbitrary. For lack of a way to phrase this better, I think if you buy

kuro5hin.org (for example), the interNIC should automatically block off the .com and .net versions from being purchased. Just choose your name and decide if you're a commercial, internet related, or not for profit site and be assured that no one else will be able to take/spoof your name later on...

Country codes, .edu, .gov, and .mil would/should be excluded from this. I just hate going to somewhere.com and then going to somewhere.org only to find that it's basically the same concept as the .com one was but obviously got there too late.

[ Parent ]
Re: I think the multinational TLDs are ... (none / 0) (#29)
by slycer on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 10:25:10 PM EST

Actually I find the something.org is normally a better site, typically run by geeky or non-profit orgs.. VS the .com one that stole the name (from the people with no cash) and just steals the hits.. I know I've seen this, just not sure what site..

[ Parent ]
the root name servers already host ... (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by captain larry on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:38:38 PM EST

captain larry voted 1 on this story.

the root name servers already host a lot of domains, every domain stays resident in memory in most implementations of dns (bind). so for this one example you would be tripling the amount of overhead to host effectively one domain.

just like people learned to use .com (which is basically a meaningless term on it's own) people will learn to use the whatever the appropriate abbreviation is.
-- Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. - Pablo Picasso

Just remember: .banquo isn't a fina... (none / 0) (#3)
by error 404 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:43:02 PM EST

error 404 voted 1 on this story.

Just remember: .banquo isn't a financial institution, but a guy in Macbeth.

Oh, alright, there probably is some European language where it does mean a financial institution.

The domain class system could get confusing for a webmaster on a trip, though.
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

Interesting idea... but what about ... (none / 0) (#16)
by polarsteam on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:45:22 PM EST

polarsteam voted 1 on this story.

Interesting idea... but what about words that are valid in multiple languages but mean things that are completely different? Stuff to think about...

That suggestion was brought up in t... (none / 0) (#9)
by Arkady on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:52:06 PM EST

Arkady voted 1 on this story.

That suggestion was brought up in the discussion on the OpenDNS article. I think it's a very good idea, and we're definitely going to use it.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Problems at a protocol level (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by fluffy grue on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 04:15:54 PM EST

There's a few problems I can think of with this at a protocol level, and I'm NOT talking BIND. Not only would the following be painful for administrators to set up to begin with, but what about when new languages are added:

  • httpd - vhosts are a pain in the ass to configure and administrate as it is
  • smtp - MX, anyone? Not to mention relaying rules.
  • syslog - say you have an off-site branch in France, and a single syslogger server for some cross-branch service. And the French admins want to use something other than .bank, and your syslog accept/reject rules are based on hostname, not IP address... (okay, that one's a bit contrived)
Still, HTTP and SMTP are painful enough as it is. Adding in aliased domain classes could only make it worse.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

What about unlimited TLD's? (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by abe1x on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 04:39:57 PM EST

I have no idea how technically feasible it is but why not just open the whole bag up and allow unlimited TLD's or at least unlimited 2 and 3 character TLD's. Having 50,000 or so TLD's to pick from should eliminate all the trademark mess, plenty of room for everyone to have their own McDonald's domain. Only problem is figuring out what TLD you want. Still if we can handle 10 digit phone numbers we should be able to handle 3 character domains.

Re: What about unlimited TLD's? (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by KindBud on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 09:13:15 PM EST

I'm afraid it would do nothing to eliminate the trademark hawks descending on some poor schmuck who had Cocacola.foo or networksolutions.sucks.

I think the only way to have a domain hierarchy that has any chance of being immune to the whims of corporations and lawyers, is to establish one expressly for non-commercial use. If the name is not used in trade, then it can hardly be confused with the holder of a trademark resembling that name.

I had the thought at one time, that if ICANN, or whatever body that governs the domain name system, would only open up the whole "." domain to all comers, they could in one stroke, stop the gold rush mentality and domain campers by insisting that only trademarks could be registered under ".", and that as a condition of this restriction, 2nd level and lower order domains would never be considered to infringe based solely on the fact that the name exists. Let me explain -

Cocacola.com could be owned by any individual or entity, to do with as he pleases, so long as he wasn't selling soda pop, and wasn't representing himself as that beverage company. This is the same criteria for infringement as we have in meatspace. Only if he held "cocacola." could the mere fact that he holds it be considered infringing. And since Cocacola owns the trademark on their name, they would be the only ones who could lay claim to cocacola., and so they would be the only ones whose website could answer to http://www.cocacola/.

But it makes to much freakin' sense to ever happen in the real world.

just roll a fatty

[ Parent ]

Re: What about unlimited TLD's? (none / 0) (#31)
by DJBongHit on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 11:31:01 PM EST

That would make sense for the United States... but what about the rest of the world? Are trademarks international? (I honestly don't know)

BTW - from your nick, I thought you'd appreciate my site: http://imack.baked.net.


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Re: What about unlimited TLD's? (none / 0) (#35)
by KindBud on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 02:39:08 AM EST


just roll a fatty

[ Parent ]
Re: What about unlimited TLD's? (none / 0) (#40)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:17:32 PM EST

Nice idea. But it won't work. Trademarks aren't like patents. You don't own the word. For example:
Who would get it?
You all thought it would be a computer site, I guess. But maybe it was the Beatle's record company ...

You said it yourself when you said that cocacola.com couldn't sell soda pop; trademarks are local to a particular industry or context. You just didn't carry it to the necessary conclusion.

Petstore.com had deal with Discovery Channel. Pets.com bought Petstore.com, got Discovery deal. -> Sock puppet on Croc Hunter! (Please please please ...)

[ Parent ]
Re: What about unlimited TLD's? (none / 0) (#42)
by KindBud on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 06:54:24 PM EST

See www.alteon.com for one possible solution to this problem.

just roll a fatty

[ Parent ]
What if we just take ICANN out back and shoot it? (none / 0) (#25)
by KindBud on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 07:57:08 PM EST

.banc and .shop are the stupidest excuses for 2nd level domains I have ever heard. What's wrong with shop.bigfuckingwebsite.com or bank.megacorp.com? Geezus H Christ on a pogo stick!

What I would like to see is a new 2nd level domain expressly for non-commercial purposes. I would like "non-commercial" to be in its charter - not just "non-profit" since PBS and many other non-profits are definitely commercial in nature. I'm talking about a 2nd level for The People(tm) - hobbyists, geeks, clubs, open source projects - whatever! That way, it would be a hard case to make that anyone was infringing anyone else's trademarks, since the domain would be for anything but trade.

Inspired by recent discussions on the freenet-chat mailing list, I propose ".vm" as the new non-commercial top level. VM are the intials for "vires multipliciter" which translates to "strength in many".

Surely there are enough geeks in the world to operate at least one .vm server on each continent, gratis. Registrations would be strictly first-come first-served, and hopefully no-cost and in-perpetuity. It could be supported by donations - how much effort does it take, really, to operate a friggin DNS server and a whois database? If the non-commercial nature of .vm can be established, perhaps The People(tm) can finally have their own domain hierarchy, free of corporate influence and lawyers.

just roll a fatty

Too international? (none / 0) (#26)
by hypatia on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 07:59:12 PM EST

I can see a few problems, mainly for countries that don't have international operations. Say you're in italy and type in localbank.banca and find (probably) an English site for a (probably) US localbank.bank.

This is probably impractical, but what about getting the local equivalent only if you have operations in that country or make a site in that language?

I can think of a few problems for the many many countries that use English too. Here in Australia, we have a few banks with fairly generic names. For instance we have the National at http://www.national.com.au/. I don't know, but I guess it's possible there are National Banks elsewhere, and if so who gets national.bank?

One solution might be to retain in some form, the country specific TLDs, but then, what about the international companies, and individuals who want a personal domain but don't want it as individual.individualdomain.currentcountryofresidence?

One thing this would simplify... (1.00 / 2) (#30)
by Yutty on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 10:26:22 PM EST

One thing this would simplifay would be filtering software. If every Porno site was in the .xxx, .sex, .adult, .f*ck domain then it would be a simple matter to block them out and might not raise as many censorship issues. Of course I wouldn't want them blocked because I like to masturbate like there's no tommorrow.

Remember 1-800 numbers? (4.70 / 3) (#32)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 11:54:40 PM EST

A similar thing has already happened -- with toll-free (800) numbers. The 800 exchange was running out of available phone numbers, so the telcos deployed the 888 exchange for toll-free numbers as well. Of course, companies afraid of potential confusion (accidental or intentional) snapped up the same numbers under the 888 exchange that they already posessed under 800, perpetuating the shortage. Adding new toplevel domains will only aggravate the situation as companies snap up their corporate marks in all possible TLDs.

What really needs to be done to address the shortage is to remove the .(com|org|net|edu|mil) domains altogether, and make use of the ccTLD mandatory. The system used in Britain and Australia makes a bit more sense, with the second level domain indicating "functional groups" (co/com, ac/edu, etc) within a country-code domain. This would eliminate the "who gets to register national.banc" problem mentioned by another poster, and make it much easier to manage. Companies without offices in a certain country would be prohibited from owning [whatever].co.[tld]. And for true omninational organizations, there's always the .int domain.

Re: Remember 1-800 numbers? (none / 0) (#43)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 01:02:25 AM EST

Well, what's a "true omninational organization"? A large percentage of com/net/org sites are informational & content-based. In most cases, neither the content nor the readers of the content are specific to one nation. (Why should K5 be put in a .us domain? Both its visitors & stories are international; if the servers were moved to Canada, nobody would notice a thing.) What about stores that sell to residents of several countries -- isn't registering .com.cc for every country you sell to worse than registering .com? The only result of a policy like this would be to move the current problems facing .com into .int.

[ Parent ]
Since we're talking about internalization of web a (none / 0) (#33)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:42:17 AM EST

Why not end the discrimination against umlauted characters and other "oddities" we in Scandinavia use.

For example nkki.org (ancient water deity) is different from nakki.org (sausage). Not to mention the problems with the in Swedish and all those Islandic characters...

Would it be feasible to have all URLs as somekind of a Unicode string? If it requires phasing out the old DNS system, well, do it.

Re: Since we're talking about internalization of w (none / 0) (#34)
by KindBud on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 02:35:29 AM EST

DNS can handle 8-bit characters, no problem. It's the clients that may barf. gethostbyname() is what you'd have to change. Ugh.

just roll a fatty

[ Parent ]
Unicode... (none / 0) (#37)
by jonr on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 05:58:31 AM EST

I think Anonymous Hero is talking about using Unicode for hostnames. I would love that too, although I think my enghlish friends would have trouble typing ftp.jn.is! ;)


[ Parent ]
The problem with UNICODE URLs.... (none / 0) (#39)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:51:12 PM EST

've already nailed it on the head: Characters that don't appear right on your keyboard are a big pain in the, err, carpal tunnel, to type in. It doesn't matter if it's a Frenchman trying to price his products for the UK or an American trying to visit his favorite Swedish Amiga web site - you still have to load your local equivalent of a character map application, eyeball the letter you want and cut-and-paste it into your document.

Not the sort of thing I want to be doing 40-50 times a day.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
for a real improvment (none / 0) (#36)
by 31: on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:33:18 AM EST

NSI/ICANN seems to be entirely opposite of what a 'community' or whatever you want to call it sich as this seems to be in favor of. 'We' (speaking is an entirely unjustified sorta global way) seem to want open protocals, and and open systems. they want protection of corporate status, and money. Well, money should come first, the corporate scheme of their primary income (US/.com, if I'm not mistaken) just sorta fits in.
so, it seems time to embrace and extend dns. an undernet sorta thing, so those of us who maintain dns servers can attach to root servers (or a distributed sumtin sumtin), that connect to the the ICANN root, so we can have a 'rational system' without removing the people who use ou systems ability to do normal DNS?
It just seems like there's too much power it a group that doesn't deserve it. If I could get $35 a year from every corp. for every dns extension they used, knowing I couldn't be stopped? the result wouldn't be pretty. Well, hot damned! the current system ain't too pretty, and doesn't look like it'll get much prettier.
any who, please don't rate this, if you happen to agree, or think it's a good idea, please implement instead (I'd be willing to set it up, only run 4 minor server... at the moment)

The whole thing is broken (none / 0) (#38)
by FFFish on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:14:41 PM EST

Reality these days is that it's virtually impossible to register a decent domain name. Everything that's common is taken. mostly by domain name squatters (who, IMO, should be taken out back and shot). The .com/.org/.net TLDs are a mix of commercial and non-commercial; their original meanings are completely disregarded.

Adding new TLDs will not solve anything. The corporations will make sure to snap up everything they already own, and the squatters will snap up everything else. You and I will continue to be screwed.

There are only two possible solutions, IMO:

1) Do away with TLDs all together. If Yahoo/Google/etc can handle the massive traffic they do, then surely it's possible to have a set of central nameservers (perhaps one per country; this way, the nations that use the net the most will load their own system the most) that can deal with holding every domain name in existence. Your ISP will cache the most-used DNS requests; their upstream will do the same; and so on until you hit the central server.

2) Use country codes sensibly. If you have a personal web page, you get www.goatlovers.springfield.il.us. If it's a *registered* business, you'd get www.goatlovers.il.us (if you've registered, you're the only game in state/province). If you happen to be cross-state/province registered, www.goatlovers.us. And if you're truly international, www.goatlovers.com.

The only collisions in this case are if there is more than one goatlovin' personal page in town. Probably not a significant problem.

Popular web pages that aren't making money would have to become a registered business in order to get broader namespace. Fortunately, most really popular web pages are making money from banners, and so incorporating is the best plan anyway.

There is some expense in becoming nationally/internationally registered. Somehow, I think Anandtech, Planet*, ARStechnica and the like can afford it...

Some info on trademarks (none / 0) (#41)
by FFFish on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 06:17:38 PM EST

I'm currently in the gutwrenching throes of discovering that my trade name is trademarked by someone else, and that I may not have the right to operate using it.

Truth of trademarks is this:
1) The trademark office isn't like the patent office at all. These people are putting some serious and sincere thought into what they do, and are damned good at it. I'm most impressed with the thoroughness and reasoning they use in accepting/rejecting trademark claims.

2) The owner of the trademark has the rights to it. If your use of it can in any reasonable way be considered infringing, then you're SOL. You aren't allowed to leverage their intellectual property -- and this is fair and just.

3) The same trademark can be held by different companies, if their use of the trademark is non-infringing, ie. does not leverage it. There are a dozen holders of the trademark "Cardinal" -- cigarettes, glassware, clocks, fishing reels... all held by different companies.

4) Some trademarks are so all-pervasive that they simply can't be used at all. "Coca Cola" is one: as the most-recognized trade name in the world, *ANY* use of it is leveraging the owner's efforts to develop that recognition.

Trademark owners generally aren't abusing their ownership rights, especially when people using their trademark are using it in a way that causes harm to their business.

Even those that are allowing use of their trademark by others are walking a fine line: by establishing a precedent of not asserting their rights, they open themselves to the risk of not being able to protect themselves if the mark is abused.

You can hardly blame, or even criticise, any trademark owner for covering their asses all the way...

Truly generic domains? | 43 comments (43 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!