> A guy named porsch is entitled to use the name. However, the system is
> imperfect. It is a first to file system. Surnames are not protectable
> as trademarks anyway. I do not think that Porsche would be considered a
> surname in the U.S. Porshe has built up considerable recognition, has
> trademark registrations andtherefore would be entitled to the
> "porsche.com" name.
> Whether right or wrong.
Wrong! (At least under U.S. Law)
U.S. is still fundamentallly first to use, with a subtle twist for
Section 2 of the Lanham Act provides that no trade-mark by which the goods
of the applicant may be distinguished from
the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on
account of its nature unless it-
(c) Consists of or comprises a name, portrait, or signature identifying a
particular living individual except by his written consent, or the name,
signature, or portrait of a deceased President of the United States during
the life of his widow, if any, except by the written consent of the
That language doesn't exclude names registered with consent, or that do
not identify a particular living individual. However, surnames will not
be registrable unless distinctive, which only happens upon proof of
secondary meaning, under 2(f).
Finally, it is well-settled that having a name does not give any right or
license to use the name in commerce in a manner confusingly similar to a
distinctive mark owned by another. If you have any doubts, ask Walter S.
Taylor of the Bully Hill Vinyards.
just another view,