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As is common with a question such as yours, the answer is invariably that
of "it depends." While the reference in the comment made by thither-ga is
generally true, it is not necessarily applicable to your examples.
If a strong enough case could be made to the "powers that be" (USPTO, WIPO,
ICANN) that there is some type of infringement, then I would think a company
could "take" a domain name such as the ones that you outline.
In your examples, perhaps DR Power Equipment would have a claim on DR.com
and id Software could come after ID.com. Both of these companies hold
trademarks on those "abbreviations" which I would think would improve any
If "Prettysoon Corporation" was known far and wide as "PC" and they held
a trademark on "PC" as well, I would not consider the PC.com domain name
"fair game" either. Read further for the "it depends" of this, though.
The latter part of your question makes a world of difference, as that is
a critical part of the "Anticybersquatter" law, as stated within this
Entrepreneur Network article.
"Basically, a cybersquatter is someone who registers domain name addresses
with the primary purpose to resell them."
Let's go back to your example. Let's say that everyone knew that "PC" was
"Prettysoon Corporation" and that company held a trademark on "PC" as well.
For our example, let us have Prettysoon selling widgets, and not computers.
Someone comes along and registers PC.com (which indeed is registered by
Intel) and proceeds to sell, ummm, personal computers through a website
that uses that domain name.
Could that person lose that domain to Prettysoon? It depends, but even I
don't think that would be the case. If Prettysoon was incorporated as
PC, Inc. from the beginning, their case might be stronger, but as it would
be hard to confuse the PC.com site with Prettysoon, then it would be hard
"Likelihood of confusion" is the "standard" in trademark infringment, as
pointed out in this Harvard "Overview of Trademark Law" article.
"The standard is 'likelihood of confusion.' To be more specific, the use
of a trademark in connection with the sale of a good constitutes infringement
if it is likely to cause consumer confusion as to the source of those goods
or as to the sponsorship or approval of such goods."
If, in our example, Prettysoon Corporation, also commonly known as PC, sold
personal computers instead of widgets, then the PC.com website could be in
trademark, let alone domain name, trouble. Picture a website named GM.com,
not owned by General Motors, but selling cars!
Alternatively, if someone registers PC.com, knowing that PC is what everyone
understands to be Prettysoon Corporation, just as General Motors is probably
better known by the abbreviation of "GM" (GM could mean general manager) than
their proper name, and then tries to sell the domain name for a profit, then
they might cross over into the "cybersquatting" realm.
That could mean up to $100,000 statutory (versus actual) damages, as is
pointed out in the above referenced Entrepreneur Network article.
So, it depends on all sorts of circumstances on whether it was "safe" to
register a "common abbreviation" as a domain name, and one would have to
be more cautious if one were to do so as a speculative venture.
If you need any clarification, please feel free to ask.
Search strategy: Personal experience as a former owner/operator of an
Internet Service Provider (ISP) company.
Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher