Paul Dell vs Dell Computers

by Stephanie Rewis on February 16, 2006

This is another one of those David and Goliath stories that always aggravate me. Another case of the big giant shoving around the little guy who has a smaller sword and shield in the hopes he'll just give up.

For those that aren't familiar, this story is about Paul Dell who lives in Spain. He's a web designer who, in 2001 purchased the domain name Novel idea naming your business after yourself and what you do — I doubt anyone's ever done it before. About a year later, Dell came knocking. "Hey, give us your domain name. It might confuse people." Huh? If I'm looking for a new computer, I'm sure not looking for a website — nor the other way around. Paul said no. Dell went away — for a while.

Then, about a year ago, they came back. "You're still using the same name." Ummm, yes, I sure am. It's my name. It's what I do. "Give it to us." Ummmm — no? (You can read the story from Jan 2005 at The Register.) And again he didn't hear for a while.

Now Dell is back in a BIG way. Not only asking for the domain name but suing Paul for hundreds of thousands of Euro for all this loss they've incurred by him continuing to run his web design business using the name Dell WebSites. And we, his friends and fellow business owners are encouraging Paul to fight.

Why do large corporations have more of a right to every "possibly related" URL that exists? I own — why do I not own Because someone else does. Now that I'm "famous" do I go to him and say, "Hey, I should have that domain because it might cause people confusion." And in fact, it does cause people confusion. I've had clients forget and email me at that address. However, the gentleman that owns it has been kind enough to set me up with forwarding so that if they make a mistake, I don't miss any email. Dell shouldn't have any more right to Paul's domain than I have to the dot com of my domain. It was available when they were "famous." They should have purchased all the available related domain names that might confuse people — just to be sure. But if they didn't and it's gone now, just like me, they don't get it. It's a free society of domain names and the heavy hitters shouldn't have any more weight than the little guy. And if they're nice, maybe Paul will set up email forwarding for their clients that get confused. Something like — he's a nice guy — I know he'd do it.

So what's the problem with Paul fighting? Cash baby. Plain and simple. He lives in Spain, the suit is in France. Paul's Spanish lawyers want him to use a specialist in Paris. A great lawyer — but a very expensive one. The down payment to get this lawyer to read the case and advise would buy Paul a new car. And though it was tough for him, we've finally convinced him to take donations so that he can actually fight it hard. I've set up a blog for his defense. Paul's even willing to give anyone that wants to help out — however big or small — a copy of his Sunflowers Web Template as a token of his appreciation. A link will be included in his thanks to you.

So Goliath is yelling and strutting his stuff — but hey, we're sending you rocks, Paul. Put one in your sling and give it a whirl.

You can keep up with the story on the Paul Dell blog some friends have created. Please donate to the Paul Dell Defense fund. Let's keep the internet accessible to the little guys. Maybe next time, it will be you the corporations come after.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff Coughlin February 16, 2006 at 12:58 pm

I recall this happening a few years ago with a young new talented kid named Mike Rowe. He was (at the time) studying for his microsoft certifications to be an engineer (I think he was around 18 years old).

Needless to say his new personal website (something close to a blog) was

you can guess who came knocking and threated to sue. Mike fought (not with money or lawyers, but by posting his dillemma on the web and getting sites like The Register to talk about it).

With all the media on his side, Microsoft backed-off and offered him free stuff to keep his mouth shut (I believe an XBOX and some paid classesfor his MS exams or something).

Stef. February 16, 2006 at 1:01 pm

Yes, he was 17. And I sent him money. ;) He gave up his domain, they gave him stuff. I want to get Paul’s story SlashDotted — we need help fast. Anyone know how.

John Wilker February 16, 2006 at 5:28 pm

That blows. Gotta love the big guys pushing people around. I hope he wins. Dell has no right to that domain name.

Jim Babbage February 16, 2006 at 9:38 pm

Well I did my bit. If everyone could fire off even $10 to this fellow, he’d be in a much better situation. And hey, I spend more than $10 on lunch sometimes, so I know I won’t miss it.

Plus there’s all the money I’ll save by never buying a Dell product . . .

Teli Adlam February 16, 2006 at 10:42 pm

I hope this gets some exposure because it’s a trend with large companies that leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

I’ve already written about it and I hope others will too.

As I said in my entry, I never did care much about Dell computers, and now I care even less.

Matthijs February 17, 2006 at 6:00 am

Indeed he needs our help. This story should be slashdotted, delicioused, dugged, magnolia and get all the attention it deserves. It’s just incredible. The name isn’t even confusing! If you look at the site it’s so clear it’s not about those stupid dell computers. I know I’ll never buy a dell from now on. It’s dell’s fault they didn’t buy that domain in the first place, if they were so concerned.

John Knights February 17, 2006 at 7:59 am

Congratulations Dell, you have just lost a customer for life over this despicable behaviour.

I was due to replace most of the workstations and servers in our office over the summer but I will look elsewhere now.

Dell, along with Sony’s rootkit farce are now on my personal eternal blacklist and I will actively encourage others to do the same.

Best of luck Paul Dell, I hope everything goes your way.

Jay February 17, 2006 at 10:24 am

Well I will never buy or recommend a Dell comptuer or product every again. This is appauling! Monster Cable has tried to do similar things. Read about their dealings with Monster Vintage Clothing @ . Perhaps their lawyer could give Paul some help? And it goes without saying Monster Cable doesn’t exist in my house either.

goahard February 17, 2006 at 3:59 pm

Nope. Bad idea Dell. Bad press will sting a lot more than anything gained by kicking the little guy.

This is stupid. You must know this on some level.

Good luck Paul Dell. I’ve sent some help your way.

SES February 17, 2006 at 4:33 pm

Just joined the fight and sent a donation. Crossing fingers for you Paul!

Pete Jones February 21, 2006 at 7:26 am

Does anyone know the email address of Michael Dell and Kevin Rollins at Dell so that people can tell them personally what they feel?

BTW, the following is Dell’s Code of Conduct. Maybe it should look a little closer at the Respect and Judgment items:

Trust – Our word is good. We keep our commitments to each other and to our stakeholders.

Integrity – We do the right thing without compromise. We avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Honesty – What we say is true and forthcoming – not just technically correct. We are open and transparent in our communications with each other and about business performance.

Judgment – We think before we act and consider the consequences of our actions.

Respect -We treat people with dignity and value their contributions. We maintain fairness in all relationships.

Courage – We speak up for what is right. We report wrongdoing when we see it.

Responsibility – We accept the consequences of our actions. We admit our mistakes and quickly correct them. We do not retaliate against those who report violations of law or policy.

dellicious February 27, 2006 at 11:17 am

What if we all buy a something-dell domain name ?

Will Dell have enough lawyers ?

Alan Musselman March 3, 2006 at 12:58 pm

Sounds like to me they should work with Paul and share their ideas and visions with him since he was there before them OR they should try and at least give Paul an offer for the domain name. I didnt see this mentioned anywhere…

I think its hard to blame Dell entirely in my opinion. I know a lot of great people that work there in Austin and I’m sure its someone in their Legal or Marketing department (or both) thats causing Paul all this grief.

i love dell March 17, 2006 at 2:10 pm

michael & kevin

this story sounds like

beavis & butthead :-) lol

btw. DELL should not win this court, and if yes, then it means a large precedense for the future cases because nobody has won up to now the naming conflict with e.g. Vodka Stalin, Vodka Gorbatschov, Vodka Putin and etc. because many people had the same surname not only the famous ones :-) ))) and of course were doing totally different thing, same like Paul does.

Paul Dell sells websites, Michael Dell sells PCs.

one Putin is a president of Russia and another Putin is a seller of Vodka (he gave his name to use it by vodka vendor) :-) ))

…committed acts of parasitism and of unfair competition ???

as far we know DELL is selling online PCs and not websites, as long Paul Dell won’t sell online PCs it should be ok and is not acting as parasit and using a name of DELL Inc. as a benefit.

think dell ;-)

where do you want to YELL today ??? ;-)

Trademarks March 17, 2006 at 2:23 pm

check this out:


Word Mark DELL

Goods and Services IC 002. US 006 011 016. G & S: toner cartridges and ink jet cartridges. FIRST USE: 20030325. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20030325

IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Desktop computers, notebook computers, laptop computers, servers, computer peripheral devices and parts and fittings therefor; monitors, keyboards, mouses printers, scanners, facsimile devices, remote control devices, projectors, co-processors, modems, hard and floppy disk drives, tape drives, CD read/write drives, digital video read/write drives, optical drives, data storage devices, docking stations, battery chargers, speakers and, electronic or magnetic cards and memory add ons, memory boards and chips, cables and connectors, all for use with computers; computer operating and utility software all sold together as a unit; personal and handheld computers; Personal digital assistant (PDA), electronic organizers, electronic notepads, memory cards, compact flash cards; smart media cards, computer styli, batteries, battery chargers, digital audio recorders, and digital audio playback devices, mp3 players, headphones, handheld carrying cases, electric power adapters, vehicle electric power adapters, keyboards, scanners, cradles for recharging and connecting to other devices and peripherals, electric cables and connectors for the above computer hardware and computer peripherals, namely modems, computer cables, handheld computers with wireless e-mail and wireless access to electronic communications networks; projectors; and electronic instruction manuals sold therewith as a unit for all the aforesaid goods; for portable and handheld digital electronic devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating and reviewing text, data and audio files; computer software for use in organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, and audio files on a portable and handheld digital electronic devices; televisions. FIRST USE: 19920731. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19920731

IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Web page from Dell’s website promoting the services. FIRST USE: 19920731. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19920731

IC 036. US 100 101 102. G & S: Credit Services; Leasing of computers. FIRST USE: 19920731. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19920731

IC 037. US 100 103 106. G & S: Maintenance and repair of computer hardware; Installation of computer networks; Installation of computer systems. FIRST USE: 19920731. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19920731

IC 040. US 100 103 106. G & S: Custom manufacture of computers for others. FIRST USE: 19920731. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19920731

IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Technical support services, namely, troubleshooting of computer hardware and software problems; Consulting services in the field of design, selection, implementation and use of computer hardware and software systems for others. FIRST USE: 19920731. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19920731


Design Search Code

Serial Number 78717252

Filing Date September 21, 2005

Current Filing Basis 1A

Original Filing Basis 1A

Owner (APPLICANT) Dell Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE MS#8033 One Dell Way Round Rock TEXAS 78682

Attorney of Record Daniel J. Noonan

Prior Registrations 1616571;1860272

Description of Mark The mark consists of The word DELL with a stylized E in a diamond shape that appears as a slanted E within the word..



Live/Dead Indicator LIVE


i do not see above any websites, do you?


Stef. March 17, 2006 at 2:49 pm

Hey thanks for that… Cool. Passing it along (in case they don’t have that yet). :)

BTW — as an update — the hearing has been moved to April 4th.

I hate Dell March 22, 2007 at 3:01 pm
cheap computers October 20, 2009 at 5:58 am

I know I’ll never buy a dell from now on. It’s dell’s fault they didn’t buy that domain in the first place, if they were so concerned.

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cheap used computers June 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

It’s just incredible. The name isn’t even confusing! If you look at the site it’s so clear it’s not about those stupid dell computers. I know I’ll never buy a dell from now on. It’s dell’s fault they didn’t buy that domain in the first place, if they were so concerned.

Refurbished Computers October 9, 2010 at 6:20 am

This story should be slash dotted, delicioused, dugged, magnolia and get all the attention it deserves. It’s just incredible. The name isn’t even confusing! If you look at the site it’s so clear it’s not about those stupid dell computers…..

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