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I intend to offer some Microsoft Excel tools from a site whose name I'd like to be something like www.exceltools.com, I'm worried whether it will impinge Microsoft's trademark term.

I know using any company name in the domain name is forbidden though (like microsoft).

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closed as off-topic by bybe, Su', Stephen Ostermiller, paulmorriss, Zistoloen Jul 31 '13 at 12:50

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  • "This question does not appear to be about webmastering within the scope defined in the help center." – bybe, Su', paulmorriss
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5 Answers 5

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You mean like excelhero.com?

There are hundreds and quite frankly MS will not take action against you. In fact if you do write some good material and offer quality tools, they might even make you an MVP!

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They would take action if the product name is misused. But yes, in his case they will not take action. –  Raffael Luthiger May 3 '13 at 13:59
    
So you mean my site should not malign or hurt Microsoft's business interests in any way then it'd be ok to use it? –  user5858 May 3 '13 at 15:44
    
If your site becomes popular they will take action ;) –  bybe May 3 '13 at 19:04
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Here's a list of Microsoft (R) Trademarks. Excel (R) is one of them. I wouldn't use it if I was you.

Moreover, do you really want to sell products which are tight to a single platform? What if companies wanted to buy your tools for Open Office?

I would look for other alternatives. Possibly a domain about productivity tools, or one that targets a specific industry.

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Excel is a Trademark but it is also a dictionary word what does this mean?

Excel is a registered trademark, now its worth noting that excel is a dictionary word which means that a domain with excel in it does not necessary mean it is infringing on the trademark.

Let me explain, If you use the excel trademark in a domain in the objective to cover Microsoft Products then you are infringing on the trademark, if you objective is to make a brand say for a clothing or a ice cream then again you are infringing on the trademark as its a branding.

Now you would not be infringing on the trademark if you used something to describe an action, since its a dictionary word therefor its impossible to legally own the rights for people not using dictionary words for purposes not describing products, branding or a company figure..

For example:

excel-if-life.com

Would not infringe on Microsoft's trademark unless the site was on topic of their products, if it was about life style changes and how to excel in life then your using a dictionary word to describe a non product, therefor no infringement is made.

But I see many sites using the trademark in their domain

This isn't a valid agruement in law, Microsoft own the right to claim against who they like... Just because you see others doing it, doesn't mean you should follow suit, they have infringement claims made against them, they may receive one in time, they may never but if you want to stay on the right side of the law, and retain your rankings then you should never use a infringed domain.

Make a sitename and use the URLS's for targeting products/trademarks

Rather than pointlessly stuffing a keyword in the domain you should opt to use the word excel in created URLS, this will have an better effect... Since Google no longer rewards for domains with keywords in the domain, in fact Google wants people to use branding rather than keyword stuffing.

Come up with a good branding name and build your website into a reputable site to visit, not one that will need require renaming at any time.

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This answer deserves a down-vote - and I would if I had the reputation to do it - because it's giving false "information" - in particular, this part: " if you objective is to make a brand say for a clothing or a ice cream then again you are infringing on the trademark as its a branding." THIS IS WRONG. The standard is whether or not there is or would be confusion in the market place if the newer use were permitted. If not, no problem. If consumers would confuse them, problem. If consumers might confuse them, then arguable, lawyer time. –  Richard T May 3 '13 at 20:17
    
Branding products with the same trademark is likely to confuse consumers, please name a brand with identical trademarks that has been granted on an entirely different product range in the same country. If none has been granted as I suspect then it proves that this confuses the consumer, however as my answer focused on you are allowed to use dictionary words in domains names if its not conflicting to the brand in question... You seemed to get hooked on the ice cream / clothing example, rather getting to the main point I had.... –  bybe May 3 '13 at 22:55
    
Which was he should not use the wording excel in the domain because he/she intends to use it direct relation to Microsoft's Excel Application which is indeed infringement. –  bybe May 3 '13 at 23:03
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The BEST bet is to contact them first, before you have chosen a name and ASK to LICENSE the name. They may very well support your goals and grant permission for free, or contingent upon sales - what you decide together is up to you. They have people on staff whose job it is to talk to people like you.

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“We are not lawyers, we do not know the details of your situation and the law of the country you live in. Hire a lawyer.”

Not to so sound unfriendly but as stated above I recommend you to contact a lawyer for any legal advice you might need. Any answer right or wrong to your question can not be considered valid legal advice, and should not be used as a base for legal issues.

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