If for example I purchased a domain that contains NHS (national health system in the UK). For example nhsnews.com that contains news about nhs. Would I be in trouble and do I have to stop the site?

  • I believe it's National Health Service rather than System - just saying :) You're probably safer going for a slightly more generic name that still includes relevant search terms - 'national health news' or 'health service news' or even 'nh news' if you want something shorter. Realistically I doubt you'd get in trouble with your suggested URL (unless you will be making money from 'lost' visitors looking for the NHS site). But probably better to stay safe and avoid trademarks in my experience, as the penalties can be hefty.
    – Lyall
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 17:44
  • 1
    Simple answer: speak to a trademark lawyer in your country. They will know the correct answer.
    – L84
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 20:03

2 Answers 2


You can dive into the WIPO domain name disputes to get a feeling of cases which were won by the registrant to understand how it's really decided. There are sometimes some very surprising decisions, and it's a good way to understand the rules in practice.


If you choose a domain name that conflicts with any one of the millions of commercial names that already exist, you risk losing it. And if you've put money and sweat into marketing your website and then are forced to give the domain name up, your Web-based business is likely to suffer a damaging, if not fatal, blow.

Here are the basics you need to understand:

  • mark and may even have to pay the trademark owner damages.
  • Trademarks that are clever, memorable or suggestive are protected under federal and state law.
  • Trademarks that are descriptive and have achieved distinction through sales and advertising can be protected under federal and state law.
  • One trademark legally conflicts with another when the use of both trademarks is likely to confuse customers about the products or services, or their source.
  • In case of a legal conflict with a later user, the first commercial user of a trademark owns it.
  • If a legal conflict is found to exist, the later user will probably have to stop using the mark and may even have to pay the trademark owner damages.

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