I've just signed up to a new service (company) using my usual practice of giving them a unique email address [email protected].

I've just received an email stating:

Thank you for registering for an account with [COMPANY].

We would kindly like to inform you that ‘[COMPANY]’ and ‘[COMPANY ALIAS]’ are registered trademarks and therefore should not be used in any e-mail addresses so as to not cause any confusion or misleadingness. For that reason, we kindly ask that you remove the trademark from your email address.

I've got dozens of email addresses like this one, and they're never used for any comms outside of those between me and that company. I like using this system as it quickly identifies any hack/spam/sale of email and allows me to process the emails using a rule. I know others use [email protected] for example for the same purpose.

Can the company compel me to change the email I use. It doesn't hugely matter, I can just give them [email protected]. Was interested in people's thoughts.

Edit: UK (England) Jurisdiction, UK company.

  • 2
    please at least leave a comment if you're going to downvote
    – Rich
    Oct 29, 2018 at 9:12
  • 1
    Generally a company is free to put conditions on the services it provides to its customers unless the law forbids it. If you don't like the conditions, you are free to use a competitor. (It's certainly not illegal for you to use a trademark in your e-mail address unless you're trying to sell the same product as the trademark owner, to impersonate the trademark owner, or otherwise to mislead consumers.) I doubt there's a law preventing them from imposing this condition, but it might vary from one jurisdiction to the next. Where are you? Where is the company?
    – phoog
    Oct 29, 2018 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


Let me be sure that I understand the situation. You set up an account with Big Company, which uses BigCo as a trademark. You want email about that account to reach you with a unique address, so you set up '[email protected]" and gave that as your email when setting up tha account. You don't plan to use that address for any purpose but communications from BigCo to you and from you to them. (Of course these aren't the actual names.) Have I understood the situation correctly?

It seems that you ar not using 'BigCo" in trade, nor are you likely to be confused with an official representative of BigCo, so you are not infringing their trademark. However, someone using such an email more generally could perhaps be so confuse, so BigCo has a somewhat legitimate concern, as they cannot know the very limited use you plan to make of this address.

The only way that the could force you not to use such an email address would be via a court order as part of a suit for trademark infringement, whcih under the circumstances I doubt they would get. However, unless they have some sort of contract with you to the contrary, they can control who registers on their site. and could refuse to register you using an email address that includes their name or alias. Convincing them to accept your registration, even though it does no harm to them, will almost surely be more trouble than it is worth.

Give them "[email protected]" or something else that is not their name, but will suggest their name enough that you will know who it is. This will serve your purpose fully, and avoid a long argument with people who are reading from a script (once you get past the automated process, if you can even do that).

This is all assuming that I have understood the situation correctly. I am also largely assuming US law, since you didn't mention a jurisdiction. (EDIT: UK law should not be very different on these points.)

  • Thanks, UK jurisdiction. Agreed more hassle than worth, but was interested in the legal standpoint. I'm not pretending to be BigCo, simply using their name as an identifier in my email alias.
    – Rich
    Oct 29, 2018 at 16:03

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