The application by SeekAmerica Networks, an affiliate of MCHost, was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office on Dec. 9, and provides SeekAmerica with protection for its use of the words "private label" in connection with reseller hosting plans. The approval is technically for a service mark, which offers trademark protection for a service rather than a product.
Several providers have said in online forums that MCHost has requested that they stop using the phrases "private label reseller" and "host unlimited domains," for which SeekAmerica has also applied for a trademark. MCHost is based in Maryland, while SeekAmerica's address is a post office box in Kelowna, British Columbia.
"If we do not receive your assurances that you will cease all use of the above mentioned marks, we will proceed with legal steps to protect our rights as well as seek damages from your company for federal trademark violation," according to the email from MCHost CEO Marc Wyss.
A web search on the phrase private label reseller plans returns more than 700 results, nearly all from the web sites of hosting providers. Web searches suggest any number of providers used both phrases in advance of SeekAmerica's trademark applications in August 2002.