Q. Hey Amit, i have been following your blog from 2 years and its very interesting to read all the useful insights you keep publishing. Today i have a very interesting question which can also be useful to all of your users too. I have a domain name which has the word ‘Android’ in it and i wanted to know if its possible to use the same to run as a blog or will have any problems from Google in the future. I have heard that there are trademark violations under trademark law using which corporations can grab your domain names and also these are in most case limited to countries, products, services and to the specific category under which the trademark applies. Should i sell this domain name or proceed with a blog on it?
First of all i would suggest you to consult an attorney who practices in your jurisdiction because he would be the best person to answer this question. There are generally two different types of trademarks, one which are common law trademarks and other which are registered trademarks. You need to contact the trademark office for the type of trademark the brand has registered with.
You should also check out the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy here which suggests that your domain name registration can also get cancelled if someone would file a complaint with the domain registrar. There have been many cases where in large corporations have sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter through a lawyer who represents the company and demands the domain owner to transfer the domain name. If the domain owner denies the request he has to hire a lawyer in order to defend the case and be ready for the huge court fees and other associated expenses.
There are many different cases revolving around the web which suggest that surprisingly not the brand name has always won the case, example check out this story which suggests that a person who had a family name as domain name wanted to win the domain name and had to go through many legal issues.
Now back to the original topic of you using the word ‘Android’ in your domain name and making it commercial, here is what we could suggest you. There are a few Brand Guidelines which are set for the word ‘Android’ by Google which you can find out here and there are maximum chances that Google would not complain to you because they are going to get great positive publicity and buzz. You need to include a footer attribution on your website or blog mentioning that the site has no official connection with Google. In order to get approval from Google regarding the brand usage you need to request for permission through this form along with all the required information.