For example, say I develop a piece of software that helps eBay users. Can I call this software 'Ebayer Helper' (note 'ebayer' not 'ebay') or are there potential legal repercussions?
The kind of protection that could apply to your situation is known as Nominative Use. Even though you may ultimately win a dispute in court on those grounds, that is not to say you won't draw a cease and desist letter or lawsuit from eBay.
Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion and should not be considered legal advice.
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