Can Subdomains Violate a Trademark?

A lawsuit that had the potential to define how far trademark infringement can go when applied to subdomains has been settled out of court. The lawsuit was filed by California non-profit religious organization Jews for Jesus against Google in response to a blogger who set up a blog critical of the group at jewsforjesus.blogspot.com.

According to attorney and Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman, the case could have set some precedent about third-level subdomains (like the “blog” part of http://blog.clickz.com). While trademark law has been shown to apply to a regular domain name, it has not yet been applied to third-level ones, and it’s not clear that it would apply, he said. It would also help define Google’s responsibility in what subdomains it allows to be registered.

The case was settled by Jews for Jesus and the blogger, who transferred the site over to them. Since the issues were never decided by a judge, the world will have to wait for the next lawsuit to find the answers to those questions.

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