Marchex-owned Names Might Raise Infringement Concerns

A follow-up to my last blog post …

After fielding a number of queries from readers, I took a closer look at domain names owned by Marchex. The company owns — and is seeking to derive advertising revenue — from several names that might prompt complaints of trademark infringement from large corporations. They include ibmlaptops.com, ibestbuy.com, chasemortgagega.com, cheapdisneytickets.com and carnivalsinglescruises.com. Each site features a link at the bottom that says “advertise on this network”; the link explains the Marchex pay-per-click advertising network. In an email, Marchex’s general counsel, Ethan Caldwell, said: “Thanks for bringing these domains to our attention. As we have mentioned before, Marchex continues to review and analyze domain names it purchased in bulk for the express purpose of identifying and subsequently eliminating any which do not fit into our long-term strategy. The domains you have identified do not fit into our core strategy of building sites from domains which are either commercially descriptive or have generic characteristics which enable Marchex to build highly relevant, useful and compelling content in targeted commercial verticals, such as newyorkdining.com and seattleautorepairs.com. I can further share with you that the domains are the subject of a dispute between Marchex and the third party from whom we purchased the domains in bulk.” He said he couldn’t elaborate on the dispute, and declined to disclose that third party, but it’s clear who it is. A review of the Whois history for the domains shows they were owned by Ultimate Search Inc. That, of course, is the company Yun Ye ran with his wife, Jin Lu. They sold their portfolio of about 100,000 domains to Marchex last year for $155 million in cash and an estimated $9 million worth of stock. The company they formed prior to that transaction, apparently with the help of private-banking firm Rothschild, was called Name Development Ltd. Like Ultimate Search, Name Development was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. I’ll post more information on this subject as I gather it.

Latest: A review of Marchex’s latest quarterly report with the SEC suggests as much as $24 million of the purchase price in the Name Development acquisition is being held in escrow pending the dispute over potentially trademark infringing domains. Marchex says in the filing: “The escrow agent is holding the balance of the escrow amount pending a determination related to potential indemnification obligations. In the event any indemnification obligations are so determined, the purchase price will be reduced accordingly.”

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4 Responses to “Marchex-owned Names Might Raise Infringement Concerns”


  1. 1 J Jonah Jameson December 7, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Marhex continues to infringe on trademark. They use the little guy’s names to attract internet users to their false sites where users are redirected to competitors or worse – internet porn. This continues to be shown in suits and arbitrations filed against Marchex (NASDAQ: MCHX). More will come to light in the coming months when the stage will be set for Federal litigation.

  2. 2 Jennifer Eaton December 6, 2008 at 2:47 am

    Does anyone know anything about how trademarking works? I would like to get a trademark application going with the USPTO.


  1. 1 Domain Name Wire » Blog Archive » Marchex may have $24M in trademark domains - The Domain Industry's News Source Trackback on November 29, 2006 at 9:20 am
  2. 2 Website-Address.com Trackback on January 3, 2007 at 9:37 am

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