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Let's assume that there is a website called Tomorrow Tech run by a company named Viral Tech Ltd. Half a year ago, it was shut down for undisclosed reason. The name of the website was also no longer owned and is up for grabs. My questions are:

1) Will I get into legal troubles if I make a new news website called Tomorrow Tech? (I know I can just change the name, but that's not what I'm asking) 2) If the company Viral Tech is in an ongoing court case regarding corruption, will I get in trouble with the law if I make the website called Tomorrow Tech?

Additional info: 1) Apart from the name, I build the website from the ground up. 2) There is no similarity in appearance with the original website, as I have never seen the website itself before it went down. 3) I am not taking any data or content from the original website and all contents are strictly my own. 4) The company no longer pays for the website's domain name. 5) The company is in an ongoing court case regarding corruption, and the website's name is referenced since it's the company's sole product. 6) The company is registered in Malaysia. (don't know how this is relevant but thought I'd mention it anyway)

Thank you in advance.

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I understand you can't declare the actual domain name because someone would register it instantly if you did. But the answer really, really depends on the particular facts at hand.

  • Are you in the same business?

  • Is there any probability of confusion between the predecessor business and yours?

  • Is the name famous enough to cause confusion? Forinstance ElonMuskWebNews.com would be a problem, because people would falsely associate it with the famous PayPal/Tesla/SpaceX Elon Musk.

    • Or for instance, a how-to sites with instructables on how to hack radios should probably avoid RadiosHack.com.
  • Is the name obvious one not for you, for someone else, and that you can't use? For instance Charlottesville-Albemarle-McDonalds-Restaurants.com is a problem; since it fits one company, and is a total misfit for you since you have no McDonald's franchises, run no restaurants, have no presence in Virginia, and the name says you do. As such, this would look, walk and quack like a blatant case of domain-jacking, and would be treated as same by the courts.
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  • To answer your questions:1) Yes 2) Confusion is possible as readers may think the new site is just a revival of the previous site. 3) It's not a famous name. There is no person, location or brand name. It's just a combination of two common English words. 4) No, it's just a combination of two English dictionary words that describes the online news service I'll be offering. – Shiina Ai Dec 24 '19 at 17:57

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