eBay Domain Trademark Mistake

September 1, 2007

About a year ago, I registered a domain with the word ebay in the name. Just this week I received the email below from their legal department informing me I was violating their trademark. Luckily, I haven’t developed the site yet so no big loss to me.

At the end of the email they ask that I contact them in writing but don’t give any address. I replied to the email saying that I would comply and asked how to send my in-writing request but haven’t gotten a response yet. I hope I hear back soon, according to their email, if they don’t get a response they “will have no choice but to pursue all available remedies” against me. Here is the email from eBay:

We are writing concerning your registration of ebayxx.com which contains the famous eBay trademark.

eBay has made a substantial investment in developing and providing its services. As a result of eBay’s pioneering efforts and its devoting substantial effort and resources to providing only high quality services, the eBay name and trademarks are widely known among the consuming public worldwide, and the name and trademarks embody substantial and valuable goodwill.

Accordingly, we were concerned when we learned of your registration of the domain ebayxx.com. As we hope you can understand, protection of its trademarks is very important to eBay. We have filed several successful federal court actions in the United States against companies and individuals employing the famous eBaytrademark in their domain names, as well as more than six proceedings before the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization’s arbitration panel. eBay prevailed in each case and the domain names at issue were all ordered to be transferred to eBay.

We understand that you may have registered ebayxx.com without full knowledge of the law in this area. The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (http://www.patents.com/acpa.htm) provides for serious penalties (up to $100,000 per domain name) against persons who, without authorization, use, sell, or offer for sale a domain name that infringes another’s trademark.

While eBay respects your right of expression and your desire to conduct business on the Internet, eBay must enforce its own rights in order to protect its valuable and famous trademark. For these reasons, and to avoid consumer confusion, eBay must insist that you not use the domain name for any purpose, do not sell, offer to sell or transfer the domain name to a third party, and instead simply let the domain registration expire.

Please confirm in writing that you will agree to resolve this matter as requested. If we do not receive confirmation from you that you will comply with our request, we will have no choice but to pursue all available remedies against you.

Sincerely,

eBay Legal Department

Ben

Will this article help you save or earn more money? Get others like it simply by entering your email address below. Your email is used only for delivering daily money tips and you can opt out of delivery at any time. Click here to see all your free subscription options.

  

Ben

Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn’t like the other kids… His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he’s helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.


All posts by

Comments

21 Responses to eBay Domain Trademark Mistake

  • Rick

    another note on why this has become an issue. There have been in the past sites using the eBay name and scaming people. If you site is or can be construed an affiliate of eBay then they have grounds to fight. If you look online there are some names with eBay in them, myBeeBay and myteebay, neither are a part of eBay but still exsist.

  • Rick

    I got the same email with no way to reply. I replied to the other sending address. Have not got a reply from them. My site is not an auction, never will be. The address pertains to strictly Delaware and the Bay area advertising and services.

  • Ethan

    I got the same letter I assume the reason they don’t actually leave a physical address is because this would inspire people to write them. What they really want is for you to just shut down the domain. The point of the letter is intimidation. Do you think they are really going to sue every site that has eBay in it? No, only the ones that become popular will get that treatment. I think it’s kind of foolish of them considering most of these sites are about how to make money using eBay which in a way is free promotion.

  • Bob Bradford

    I thought this was fake and ignored the email. eBay contacted me personally I guess they do have an enforcement program that is different from their customer service group. There are so many domains using eBay that they prioritize and handle the domains accordingly. I researched the trademark laws, and was pretty sure there was nothing I could do.

  • ben

    this is real, i didn’t comply and the next day my email address at gmail was accessed by using some sort of law in the united states.

  • Paul

    I found an eBay contact customer service form on this page:

    http://ebay.about.com/od/frequentlyaskedquestion1/f/faq_contactebay.htm

    Link to form “use this form” is under Live Contact – By Email about half way down the page.

    I sent my questions about Edith and a minute later a copy appeared in my eBay account Sent folder. Amazing that I can’t send email to “customer service” from my eBay account.

    Perhaps if a few hundred people try it someone will get an answer?

  • Paul

    I received the same email from Edith. There does not seem way to email an actual person at eBay to find out if these emails are legitimate.

  • tom

    I got same e-mail from ebay Edith eBay Legal Department
    it is real ? there is contact info so how can i contact them …? it is so weird
    what should i do ? any body got real answer? or any update?

  • 7AlienZain7

    I think it’s fake too, annoying as hell, pushy, and insulting. But it would be nice if someone here knew 100% for sure that it’s fake. The name signed at the bottom was Edith, even more annoying.

  • Cody

    It’s a scam to steal your domain, I have looked everything up and its all false. Plus there is no, ebayenforcement.com

    If you don’t believe me call eBay.

  • pat

    Ive had the same email about one of my domains, is this real or fake????? i looked up the domain whois and it says its registered to ebay inc etc… but they could have just filled this in when they registered the domain, but there is other info in the whois that is the same as ebay.com.

    has anyone contacted ebay direct to see if its them?? does anyone know what to do???

    I need to know what to do thanks

  • John

    It’s a false threat

    I received a message 2 weeks ago and I replied. I received no answer and this week I received another stating more threats. However it ended up in my junk mail folder. I doubt that ebay would send these messages from any other domain other than ebay domains since the dont get delivered. Besides there is no contact information, no telephone number to call no address. It’s a false mail.

  • Bob Dennis

    I just recieved the same email concerning my undeveloped domain name containing ebay. In an attempt to reply, I found that the domain”ebayenforcement.com” is non existant. Further, if this notice were real, my domain registrar would have also been contacted. This has not been the case.
    A true cease and desist notice would also contain clear and concise contact information as to how to reply to the notice. As in EVERY case so far listed here,that is also not the case.(I’ve got good lawyers, they tell me things like this).
    so I have to agree with Anonymous in their line of thinking that someone is trying to scarf up expired domains with ebay in them.
    Since there are more hurdles ebay would have to jump before actually filing suit, and since I really don’t believe that this notice actually came from Ebay, I am keeping my domain and I plan on renewing it and developing it!!

  • Jason Fuller

    There are 81,000 domains out there that contain “eBay” in them.

    Seriously! Check it out.

    I doubt even the most well resourced and legally fortified firms like eBay would waste their time suing 81,000 people; when about 99% haven’t even developed sites.

    Additionally, these emails are analogous to all those PayPal-spoof emails people still get: they simply aren’t from eBay, just like those really aren’t from PayPal.

    Check the IP server identification against eBay’s.

    They most likely don’t even match!

    Just some phishing scam to hijack your domain(s); nothing more.

  • Fernan

    I got same email from ebay.. what i did is shutdown my website http://www.christian-ebay.com

    i think they send same email to all ebay related domains..

    i never sale any ebay stuff just christian business directory how could they say am using ebay?

    i just annoyed because my traffic on web site already reach 500+ unique enquiries just before i shutdown..

    I did reply on them but til now they havent reply yet.. i told him ill shutdown my website but it doesnt mean i dont have rights to renew it again..

    coz am using it as my personal email i will renew it, but using only as email will not turn it back live again.. grrrrr

  • Anonymous

    Considering that there was no address, is it possible that it wasn’t from EBay ? It could be that someone is trying to pick up expired EBay domain names…

  • Ben

    Patrick, what I’m worried about is the closing remark, “pursue all available remedies against you”.

    Kristine, I’m glad you’re all prepared for moving your site. Let me know if you ever hear back from your email.

    MoneyNing, I imagine eBay has a much bigger legal department, more money, and more time to find and pursue copyright issues, I bet you’ll be okay.

  • MoneyNing

    This gets me scared since my website has the name Ning which is also a social networking site. I wonder if I can say that the name is based on my last name (which is true too).

    Hmm…

  • Kristine

    Hey Ben – I got the same letter last week! Unfortunately, my website was developed, but I knew this was coming, so I had another domain lined up, I’ve re-mapped my blog to the new domain, and I’m on track to get all incoming links changed before the domain expires.

    I assumed that “please reply in writing” included email, so that’s what I did. However, the email I got landed in my spam folder, so I may have never seen the ebay letter. I can’t believe they sent notice by email instead of by snail mail, given that they are willing to take legal action if no response is received. What kind of legal department are they running over there???

  • Patrick

    It is interesting they ask you to respond in writing but do not send you an address. The good news is, they only ask you not to develop the site and let the domain expire. That is very easy to comply with. You could offer to transfer the domain to them, but that is even more than they are asking you to do. Good luck.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  • Roundup for week of 26 August 2007: Country roads edition | Mighty Bargain Hunter