Trademark your dotcom

Amazon adn you're done!
Amazon and you’re done!

With fears of corporate identity theft on the rise, more and more companies are trade marking their domain names. While this step isn’t essential, it can offer an additional level of security to your business’s online presence. Trade marking your domain name can give you protection against those who attempt to register a similar domain, for example, someone trying to register amazonbooks.com could be considered as infringing on Amazon.com’s trademark.
Domain names, especially if it is the same as your company’s name, is one of the most vital links to customers in more ways than one. It’s very easy to misspell a domain name, or insert an extra character and end up on a completely different site. One case in particular, resulted when an adult site took the popular name of an Internet search engine and added an extra “o” at the end. Many unsuspecting people ended up at the wrong site and mistakenly thought that the original site was to blame for the objectionable content.

If your domain is trademarked, you’d be protected if something like this happened to your company. One bad impression can quickly snowball, and it is important to stay on top of the situation. Try to frequently check on similar domain names just to make sure that someone is not infringing on your name, or coming dangerously close to hijacking your customers on www. trademarkia.com

Do you know there are so many famous domain names which are not yet trademarked! Wikipedia.com and Google.com are such domain names amongst them. Also Wikipedia.org doesn’t seem to have anyone applied for it as yet. However,you can always view Wikipedia’s new marks at trademarkia, along with Amazon and Google.

A couple of tips also to help you choose your domain name is by picking; the dotcom over the net or the biz endings. Also, bear in mind, short names tend to catch on sooner plus the fact that booking your domain name for a longer period , helps Google understand that you’re in it for the long haul.

The rights under the trademark law arise out of the use in commerce and not merely by registration.  Also, in many jurisdictions famous marks are protected against even non-competing, unrelated uses without the need to prove likelihood of confusion, on the basis that such use dilutes the distinctiveness of the famous mark.

A Famous Mark
A Famous Mark

Take the case of Whois.com, that originated as a method for system administrators to obtain contact information for IP address assignments or domain name administrators. Whois.com marks and other variants of the mark are currently available but unless you wish to land yourself in a pickle with your Regional Internet Registry (RIR) you might want to steer clear of the famous marks.

Also, you should conduct a search for presence of similar domain names to see if your selected mark is infringing any of the already present ones. You must apply for registration only after you are certain that your trademark is unique enough to avoid any possible violation. You can take the examples of Alexa.com, alexa and Domaintools.com. All of these seem to be available to be applied for a trademark.

It is essential to note in this regard that a domain name can be registered as a trademark only if it acts as an identifier of the goods or services of your firm, and not just as an online address that brings internet users to your site.  Besides domain name violation, there is a new problem of keyword infringement through display of promotional ads via advertisement services like Yahoo! and Google. If the online ads help in increasing the sale of the trademark owner, it is not an infringement but the problem arises when the advertiser starts using such advertisements for marketing his own product for a commercial advantage.

A couple of examples are,

Mcdonalds.com:  This domain name was taken by an author from Wired magazine who was writing a story on the value of domain names. In his article, the author requested that people contact him at ronald@mcdonalds.com with suggestions of what to do with the domain name. In exchange for returning the domain name to McDonalds, the author convinced the company to make a charitable contribution.

Micros0ft.com: : The company Zero Micro Software obtained a registration for micros0ft.com (with a zero in place of the second ‘o’), but the registration was suspended after Microsoft filed a protest. When the domain name went abandoned for non-payment of fees, the domain name was picked up by someone else: Vision Enterprises of Roanoke, TX.

All of this brings home the fact that as important as trademarks are, it is perhaps more important to trademark your dotcom.

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