Can You Name Yourself After Your Web Site?

CBL has made a cottage industry pitching the concept that the law is sometimes kinda' strange California. He's done this both on this blawg and with occasional presentations to non- Californians, featuring titles like "California: You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Practice Here, But It Helps," and "California, Wierd or What?" But then, earlier this week, I met some terrific lawyers from Canada, who stole all my fire about crazy legal systems. That's Canada, where the government underwrites plaintiffs' fees in class actions, etc. Yow. They should start up "QuebecBizLit.com." So in the time-honored spirit of "Can You Top This One," I present for your consideration the case of Robert Edward Forchion, Jr., who lives in New Jersey, manages a Rastafarian temple in Los Angeles, and runs a web site with the URL "NJWeedman.com." And who sought leave of the California courts to change his name to "NJWeedman.com." Like folks do. Ixnay said both the trial court and the Court of Appeal: A statutory name change to NJweedman.com would last indefinitely. But Forchion might lose the use of his Web site by failing to make periodic registration payments or by breaching the registration agreement. In that event, the Web site name (NJweedman.com) could be registered to someone else and, at the same time, Forchion could keep his new personal name (NJweedman.com). If both parties used that name to conduct business, confusion might result. Further, even if Forchion were allowed to adopt NJweedman.com as his personal name, and he properly maintained it as the name of his Web site, the name might be so similar to another Web site name or trademark that the multiple usage would create confusion. Alternatively, the name change would associate Forchion's new personal name with the Web site's advice that individuals violate the law in several respects. A name change should not have that consequence. In Re Robert Edward Forchion for Change of Name (August 31, 2011) ___Cal.App.4th ___ (Second District Court of Appeal, B227341). So it looks as though CBL won't be changing his name to CalBizLit.com any time soon. OK Canadian friends. The ball is in your court.

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