DOMAIN NAMES AND TRADEMARKS
BUILD A GREAT BRAND ONLINE, BUT DON'T FORGET YOUR TRADEMARK!
GOT A GREAT BRAND?
Choosing a good brand name for a website can be a huge challenge, especially since every top level domain you want seems to be taken already. But once you find and purchase a perfect domain, don't use it right out of the gate.
Spend some more time and effort to make sure your domain/brand is legally protectable. A registered trademark is essential to build and maintain true brand value.
People often assume that once they have registered a domain name, they are free to use the name however they want. Not true. The only way to be sure that you have exclusive rights to a brand is to obtain a trademark registration for it.
Make sure no other business has applied for or registered a trademark for your domain name, or one that is confusingly similar. Trademark attorneys and USPTO Examiners spend most of their days assessing confusing similarity between trademarks. If you start selling your goods or services online, using a domain that is confusing with a registered trademark in the same field, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Registered trademarks take approximately one year to be registered with the Federal Government. The cost is between $1000-$1500 from start to finish, and the application undergoes a rigorous examination and publication process. But at the end, a registered trademark is probably your most valuable business asset. Without a strong brand, what have you got? Who would ever find your amazing product or service?
BOOST YOUR BRAND!
Build brand value online by advertising, public relations, SEO and a beautiful and functional website. A federal trademark will help you prevent cybersquatting by competitors or criminals, since a domain name dispute can be initiated and, if “bad faith” on the part of the cybersquatter can be established, or the confusing domain was obtained after your trademark registered, ICANN may order it transferred over to you, or cancelled.
A registered trademark gives the owner exclusive rights to use the trademark in connection with the international classes of goods or services for which it is registered. A registered trademark owner has legal rights to prevent others from using it for those classes, and to be compensated for unauthorized use.
Registering your trademark gives you all the intellectual property protection the law provides. An unregistered trademark or brand name can be difficult or impossible to enforce. Avoid all this headache by nailing down your trademark as early as possible in your startup business.
You can apply for trademarks on a country-by-country basis under national law, such as in the US and Canada, and in the European Union where one application covers 28 member countries. Many international advantages can be obtained by having your trademark registered in at least one jurisdiction where you plan to do business, or actually do business.