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I have a plan to create a general blog related to technology and internet marketing and I have chosen the name "LearnIT" and while registering the domain name I found there is already a company called learn it and their domain is "learnit.com"

Can I create a blog name with "learn it" and register a domain name "learnit.net"? Would the company make legal problems for my blog?

We are not related to the same business and I am not cloning their name. I just got this name suddenly in my brain, and also it is a general term.

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"LearnIT" and "Learn it" are both descriptive, and thus are generally weak trademarks. It is not unlikely that a challenge would result in cancelation of any trademark on either, or in allowing a similar trademark in an unrelated category of business. For the matter of that, you don't seem to have determined whether the other company is making any trademark claims.

In some countries there is no trademark protection unless a mark is registered. In others, including the US, use without registration can create some protection for a mark. It will also be relevant where the other company is doing business, and where you plan to. Trademark protection is always specific to a particular company, and generally requires proof of use in commerce in each such country (or of a plan to start such use in the near future).

Domain registration is a different thing, and is not necessarily tied to a trademark (although registering a domain that infringes an existing trademark will often be disallowed). It appears that "learnit.net" is listed as available. That does not mean that a dispute field by the otehr comnpany would not be successful.

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) states in section 2 that:

By applying to register a domain name, or by asking us to maintain or renew a domain name registration, you hereby represent and warrant to us that (a) the statements that you made in your Registration Agreement are complete and accurate; (b) to your knowledge, the registration of the domain name will not infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any third party; (c) you are not registering the domain name for an unlawful purpose; and (d) you will not knowingly use the domain name in violation of any applicable laws or regulations. It is your responsibility to determine whether your domain name registration infringes or violates someone else's rights.

If you register a domain name, and another person or firm complains that the name is "confusingly similar" to an existing name or to a valid trademark, you might be required to participate in an arbitration proceeding under the UDRP, or else forfeit the registration. Note that noting happens if no one complains.

Sectuioin 4(s) of the policy reads:

You are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third party (a "complainant") asserts ... that

  • (i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
  • (ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
  • (iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

In the administrative proceeding, the complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present.

"Bad faith" can be shown by evidence that you obtained the domain for purposes of selling or renting it, not for use; that you intended ti prevent a valid trademark owner from obtaining the name, and have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; that your purpose was to disrupt the business of the other; that you intended to attract users who were looking for the other site.

The page "What Are 'Look-Alike' Domain Names?" states:

An essential element of any domain name dispute is whether the domain name bears some important resemblance to a relevant trademark. The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) refers to this as the “identical or confusingly similar” test.

In many cases, a disputed domain name actually contains the trademark, and in other cases it may contain a typographical variation of the trademark (such as by omitting a single letter; transposing two letters; or substituting one letter for another, often adjacent to it on a keyboard).

Yet in other cases, a disputed domain name may simply look like the trademark at issue, even if the domain name doesn’t contain the trademark or fall into any of the popular cybersquatting tricks described above. I refer to these simply as “look-alike domain names.”

You may wish to determine if the operator of the learnit.com site has in fact obtained a trademark on "learn it". Most national trademark systems provide a means to search the trademark registers. This will not be conclusive, but may give a reasonable idea.

One option is to consult a lawyer skilled in trademark law. Another might be to reach out to the exposition firm and ask if they would have any objection to your proposed blog. If they don't object, the will be no problem.

Another option is to choose a domain that is not as similar to that of the existing site.

One technique that can help avoid an accusation of bad faith is to provide an notice where someone first opening the blog site will see it, something like:

This is XY.net. You may have been looking for XX.com,which is about {short description} If co, click here.

with a link to the other site. Such a notice might help establish that you were not using the domain to improperly attract traffic looking for the other site.

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  • ...if the trademark is granted in the first place.
    – Trish
    Jan 25 at 0:20

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