I have a domain (and a website) that is closely related to the very very well known product. If that product was name Foo, my domain is foofaq.com and provides faq and news about Foo.

At the beginning, the Foo was brand new product and they liked that people write about them. I was in direct contact with one of their official representatives and they were even doing moderation of comments on my website! They started that contact and they offered me cooperation. I have all emails preserved, and all comments they done on my site are still there.

After some time, they become huge and they got bought by some other company (hundreds of millions $). Foo is still on market, working well but now they want me to shut down my website so that end users do not confuse thinking that my foofaq.com is an official website.

So the question is: Can they just change their mind like that?

1 Answer 1


Can they just change their mind like that?

Well, what does your licence with them say? Oh, right, your licence is a verbal agreement with ill-defined terms which they may not know exists. How are you going to prove to them that you were given permission and what that permission was?

Evidence that their staff were moderating your comments (you do have records of this right?) and evidence of phone calls, emails, carrier pigeon communications between you and them (you have kept your phone records,right?) may be sufficient proof that there was an agreement. Notwithstanding, even if you can convince them (or a court) that you were granted a licence and that licence was part of a contract (publicity for them on your website is valid consideration), what were its terms. If they say they have the right to terminate the agreement unilaterally, what evidence do you have that they don't?

Notwithstanding, you are allowed to use their trade mark to refer to their goods and services, you are just not allowed to use it to promote or identify similar goods and services provided by you. However, you cannot use anything that is their copyright (like a logo) without permission or unless your use constitutes .

  • Mind you, it would be a civil suit where there's (in theory) an equal footing. Your claim that there is permission starts out with the same weight as their claim that there isn't. Evidence can shift that, both ways. That's mostly protecting you against suits about past permission, though. As for ongoing permission, that would be legally a question of estoppel. It wouldn't be the (lesser) laches as the Foo Company has knowingly and actively contributed to FooFaq.com, so it's not permission by omission.
    – MSalters
    May 1, 2017 at 18:54
  • I edited the question a bit. So, I can prove all and they even admit all that. They just say that they changed their position ( got that mail too ;))
    – tole
    May 1, 2017 at 19:29

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