GoDaddy

question Trademark Violation?

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GoodIdeas

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Just came across lebron-james.com for sale on GoDaddy, at the whopping price of $9,888.

Is this a violation of a celebrity's name/trademark, or are names not included in trademark violations?
 
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VadimK

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If you'll be using this name to create a site to sell anything associated with basketball player Lebron James - you'll get into trouble pretty fast.
But generally speaking, first name / last name can't be trademarked, from what I know.
Unlikely person who is selling this name will get into trouble. Maybe that's his name too, who knows?
The question is - who would buy it??? Cause you can't do anything with it, unless, again - you are a Lebron James )))
 
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LoveCatchyDomains

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If you'll be using this name to create a site to sell anything associated with basketball player Lebron James - you'll get into trouble pretty fast.
But generally speaking, first name / last name can't be trademarked, from what I know.
Unlikely person who is selling this name will get into trouble. Maybe that's his name too, who knows?
The question is - who would buy it??? Cause you can't do anything with it, unless, again - you are a Lebron James )))
Could you still do a non-profit fan club site? As long are you are not profiting from the name? Granted, one would question any financial benefit to having such a name.

Should be interesting to see if the listing gets pulled.
 
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There actually is a pending trademark for "lebron james", filed March 3, 2022. So, anyone acquiring the domain after that date would most likely lose the domain if the TM holder filed a URS or UDRP, in my opinion.
 
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VadimK

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There actually is a pending trademark for "lebron james", filed March 3, 2022. So, anyone acquiring the domain after that date would most likely lose the domain if the TM holder filed a URS or UDRP, in my opinion.

I am not arguing here since I am not a lawyer, but what if it's your passport name and you are clearly not profiting from it? Maybe @jberryhill as well can give a professional opinion on the matter.
 
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sharfab

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There actually is a pending trademark for "lebron james", filed March 3, 2022. So, anyone acquiring the domain after that date would most likely lose the domain if the TM holder filed a URS or UDRP, in my opinion.
Seems like a late start to file for a trademark. He has been in the NBA for many years.
 
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jberryhill

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John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq.
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Names can certainly function as trademarks. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, etc..

If it’s your actual name, then it depends on what you do with it, and what legal system we’re talking about.

But, honestly, nobody named Lebron James is looking to buy that domain name. If your name happens to be Lebron James, then we can talk about that, but I'm skeptical.

Trademark registration or not, I'm pretty sure we all know who is Lebron James, and we all know that the name "Lebron James" has considerable goodwill and commercial as a mark.

https://www.adrforum.com/domaindecisions/128073.htm

Complainant, Kevin Garnett, is a world-famous professional basketball player who currently plays with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Minnesota Timberwolves. Complainant’s trademark rights in the name KEVIN GARNETT can be traced back to at least as early as 1994 when he was named South Carolina’s high-school “Mr. Basketball”. In 1995, Complainant was named “Mr. Basketball” in Illinois, and was named National High School Player of the Year by USA Today, a Parade Magazine first-team All-American, and the Most Outstanding Player at the McDonald’s All-America Game. By June of 1995, Complainant was on the cover of Sports Illustrated prior to ever playing an NBA game.
 
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Joe N

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Unless the owner has the same name as the basketball player, intent to profit off a name/brand seems pretty cut and dry here.

Actually, even if the owner has the same name, the very fact that it has a for sale page on it shows bad intent. What possible explanation could there be for that (and the price tag) except that Lebron is a famous player?
 
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Steven McEvoy

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Just an FYI, just because something is trademarked does not mean it covers everything. each trademark has its own classes. Each class is certain items, class 24 could be clothing whereas class 26 could be tech equipment.

For example, if you trademarked, Steven McEvoy with class 24, you're trademarking "Steven McEvoy" on clothing items.
Someone can still use Steven McEvoy for tech equipment and not be a violation.


***Classes above are examples made up so please look up the classes in the trademark.***
 
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jberryhill

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John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq.
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…which is not true for famous or inherently distinctive marks.

If you use “Lebron James” for anything, then it is highly likely it would be reasonably believed to have something to do with the well known basketball star. It is common for well known celebrities to endorse products and it’s not going to matter at all whether their name is registered as a mark or in what class.

That applies to famous marks as well. No, you can’t sell shoes marked “Coca-Cola” regardless of the classes in which it is registered.

That is a different situation than non-exclusive marks like Delta, for an airline, a tool company, a dental practice, etc.
 
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Steven McEvoy

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yes you're correct about brandable words and using other people's names and not your own, especially a celebrity you can be in violation. however, If my name was Lebron James and I started a tie brand Lebron James, I would be just fine. Same goes with the word Apple, if i sold ties and named it appleties.
 
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Joe N

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yes you're correct about brandable words and using other people's names and not your own, especially a celebrity you can be in violation. however, If my name was Lebron James and I started a tie brand Lebron James, I would be just fine. Same goes with the word Apple, if i sold ties and named it appleties.
I don't think you'd be just fine... but at least you would have a (small) leg to stand on.

Wouldn't you have to somehow make a convincing argument that the choice of using your own name as your brand was in no way influenced by the existence of the basketball player by the same name? That would be a tough one, since clearly you would be receiving some form of benefit from the name. And it's only natural that people would assume it's associated with the ball player.
 
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Steven McEvoy

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I don't think you'd be just fine... but at least you would have a (small) leg to stand on.

Wouldn't you have to somehow make a convincing argument that the choice of using your own name as your brand was in no way influenced by the existence of the basketball player by the same name? That would be a tough one, since clearly you would be receiving some form of benefit from the name. And it's only natural that people would assume it's associated with the ball player.
True, but that’s what is messed up in this world, just because you’re famous does not mean that I have to be sheltered… the whole celebrity thing is stupid
 
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