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Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!

Offline Travis

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Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« on: November 19, 2014, 03:48:09 AM »
I'm sure you'll all get a kick out this. I was researching some domain names for the self-storage directory I'm getting ready to launch, and I came across this article about a reporter who was contacted by Public Storage's attorney over a trademark issue.

Anyway, to make a long story short, one person made the comment "At least it wasn't "pubic storage." Earlier, I checked to see if Public Storage owned a variation of their domain name, PublicStorageUnits.com, which they did. So just for giggles, I checked to see if they owned PubicStorage.com, and sure enough, it redirected to their home page. So people must misspell their name enough to justify owning the domain, or they could be trying to keep it out of the hands of a satirist. Only they know.

On to another point. Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that Public Storage is the largest and most recognized self-storage company in the United States. Obviously "Public Storage" is a brand; however, it's such a descriptive term in the industry, I don't see how they got a trademark for it. That's the equivalent of trademarking "public transportation." They must have established use in commerce or secondary meaning and went unchallenged when published for opposition. Not an easy task.


Re: Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2014, 10:11:13 AM »
I had no idea you can trademark basic terms like that. I never looked into it myself but it does have me thinking. I wonder if trademarking web domains is a secret weapon other websites use to not only protect their stuff, members, and traffic, but make money as well.

Offline Travis

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Re: Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2014, 11:41:56 AM »
I had no idea you can trademark basic terms like that. I never looked into it myself but it does have me thinking. I wonder if trademarking web domains is a secret weapon other websites use to not only protect their stuff, members, and traffic, but make money as well.

You could trademark a domain, but it would be pointless because nobody in their right mind would brand themselves under someone else's domain name. I would think that would be bad for business.  ;)

The only way to truly protect your brand/domain from copycats is to register all similar domains. It doesn't make sense for smaller businesses to register every TLD or GTLD, but the .net and .org which match your .com are a must. It's also wise to register the .coms of similar domains.   

For example, if someone wanted to develop the domain onlinestorageauction.com (missing the S) they could and there would be nothing I could do about it unless they tried to brand themselves as "Online Storage Auction," which would be too similar. However, they could brand themselves as onlinestorageauction.com. That's why I own that domain and several other variations of my main domain.

Now there is some protection for trademarked brands. For example, if hypothetically I registered PublicStorages.com, (Extra S)  and I created a site about storage, Public Storage could actually contact my domain registrar and take control of my domain. However, If I were to register PublicStorages.com and create a site about online data storage or create a site which ridiculed Public Storage, there would be nothing they could do about it.

I own a handful of good domains with a national brand name in them. I've been holding them for years in hopes that, in the near future, the company will take on distributors or a second hand market for the product would emerge, which would make the domains extremely valuable. As a matter of fact, just a little while ago, Consumer Reports named this company #1. They've been relatively unheard of up until now. I haven't created sites for any of these domains, nor have I offered them for sale, so there isn't much the company can legally do to take them away from me.

Offline rulesforrebels

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Re: Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2014, 11:55:05 AM »
Not sure how the rules and laws work with this but I could swear I have seen instances where large companies have sued people who basically try to use domains similar to theirs for the sole purpose of "stealing" traffic. For example if I tried to setup a site homedepott.com with an extra t i imainge home depot would come after me. As far as if they have a case I don't know.

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Re: Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2014, 12:35:19 PM »
Yes, they could take your domain from you. The registrars take copyright and trademark violations very seriously these days.

When the internet was in it's infancy, people made a fortune from registering and sometimes extorting companies for their own names.

Getting a trademark without the domain extension will help prevent other businesses from registering the same name by just adding a different extension.

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Re: Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 09:31:14 PM »
So, I've really been doing my homework on trademarks lately, and the more I learn, the more see a double standard. According to the USPTO, you aren't allowed to register generic terms. However, when I searched the registered trademark database, I found several generic terms quite quickly. Here are some examples:

Public Storage, Domain Auction, Domains Auction, National Car Rental, App Store, Houston Shutters (located in Houston), Health Records Online, Online Project Management, Online Labels, Nautical Charts Online, etc.

How did they get their trademarks? Perhaps it was because these companies demonstrated that distinctive character had been established in the trademark through extensive use in the marketplace.

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Re: Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2014, 12:59:05 AM »
That is HILARIOUS! Your story really perked me up today! But on the other more serious topic, I'm sure Public Storage has to follow certain rules and regulations when it comes to filing a trademark for its name. And I'm sure it doesn't mean that people can't use the words in the generic sense of it right? I don't think that they would be so free to go around suing anybody who used the words "Public Storage" out of context - for example, XXX Self Storage company is the best storage company for the public or something like that. (Obviously my legalities aren't quite sound here, but I'm sure you get my point...)

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Re: Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2014, 08:21:17 AM »
That is HILARIOUS! Your story really perked me up today! But on the other more serious topic, I'm sure Public Storage has to follow certain rules and regulations when it comes to filing a trademark for its name. And I'm sure it doesn't mean that people can't use the words in the generic sense of it right? I don't think that they would be so free to go around suing anybody who used the words "Public Storage" out of context - for example, XXX Self Storage company is the best storage company for the public or something like that. (Obviously my legalities aren't quite sound here, but I'm sure you get my point...)

Actually, from my understanding, their attorneys contact anyone who uses it out of context. I believe they have to to protect the trademark, otherwise, if "public storage" were to become to genericized (as if it weren't already) they could lose the trademark. Names like escalator, laundromat, trampoline and dry ice were once trademarked, but lost legal protection by becoming the common name for a product. 

Offline rulesforrebels

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Re: Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2014, 02:32:17 PM »
Yes, they could take your domain from you. The registrars take copyright and trademark violations very seriously these days.

When the internet was in it's infancy, people made a fortune from registering and sometimes extorting companies for their own names.

Getting a trademark without the domain extension will help prevent other businesses from registering the same name by just adding a different extension.

Do you remember hearing abut the guy who bought Olympics 2016 or whatever and was fighting with the olympic commitee over whether he had to give it back or not? I don't recall who wound up winning that.

I think a big part of it is if the person is doing anything with the domain. For example with the olympic one, if it was just sitting dormant I imagine it would be easier to take than if he throuh about a blog aboutthe upcomming olympics in 2016 and tracked olympians training progress then even if its fake he can kind of show I am running a blog on this I didnt buy it just to extort the olympics lol.

What you described is very common on twitter, I forgot who but some celebrity within the past few years paid something like 20k for their name on twitter from someone hwo had registered it.

Offline alloro

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Re: Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2014, 10:13:03 PM »
Do you remember hearing abut the guy who bought Olympics 2016 or whatever and was fighting with the olympic committee over whether he had to give it back or not? I don't recall who wound up winning that.

I believe you're referring to chicago2016.com STEPHEN FRAYNE, JR., vs. CHICAGO 2016 and UNITED STATES OLYMPIC COMMITTEE.
The whole thing pretty much dropped when Chicago got bumped of the list in the first elimination round of potential sites.

chicagoiplitigation.com/2009/10/articles/legal-news/chicago-2016-is-a-trademark-but-not-all-city-plus-olympic-year-marks-are/

Offline Travis

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Re: Pubic Storage - No, that's not a typo!
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2015, 11:46:56 PM »
Get this - This topic now ranks #2 on Google for "Pubic Storage."

Here's something else that made me laugh. Someone actually applied for the trademark "Pubic Storage" in 2009. Here is the really funny part...and this isn't a joke. The product was listed as men and women's underwear.  :D


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