Can We Register a Domain Name as a Trademark?

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Basically, a domain-name is an exceptional name that is related with an IP-address. Computer systems identify the name and get in touch with the IP address users related with the domain-name. “findlaw.com” is an example of a domain-name. Findlaw is the exceptional name and the .com is the extension or suffix, or the ending portion of the domain name, which is also said to be as the TLD (top level domain). Well, there are numerous suffixes or extensions accessible in the marketplace. The most popular ones are described below –

  • .net: Network-related units
  • .mil: U.S. Military
  • .travel: Travel industry
  • .biz: Businesses
  • .edu: Educational institutions
  • .gov: Government agencies
  • .org: Nonprofits

If you want to see more domain name extensions, then you will need to visit the official website of ICANN to see the complete list of TLDs.

Why you need to Register Your Trademark?

The interesting thing is that, you don’t require a federally registered trademark for preventing a contending business from employing your business name within its url of the site. So, why you should bother registering a domain name as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office? Well, primarily when you register your trademark it makes it simple for you to implement your rights as a trademark holder you’ll be supposed to have the mark automatically. Anybody who employs it once your registration is supposed to know regarding it. This really makes it a bit simpler to persuade a judge that the anon user is purposely infringing on your trademark. If you’re capable to prove the breach was planned, it can actually boost the possibility that a court will grant you money damages. The likelihood of suing for improved harms will also make it simpler to come across an attorney to accept your case if anyone breaks on your trademark.

What sorts of Domain Names Can Be easily Registered?

Well, people cannot register all sorts of domain names as trademarks. Also, the PTO is very specific regarding what people can register as their domain name. For instance, you’ll have a difficulty to register a generic domain name such as drugs.com as your trademark. And also you would face a rising problem to purchase a domain that you employ exclusively as a url and not services’ signifier. For instance, the law company of Smith-&-Jones would have a tough time to register smith&jones.com as a trademark. However, it would have to confirm that the domain name is being employed for some other reasons than for people to discover and contact the law company. (Please be informed that you can still make use of these domains when you purchase the url of your website; it’s only that the domains themselves can’t be purchased and registered with the PTO as sovereign trademarks.)

How you can Register a Trademark

It is fairly simple to file the application for your trademark online at the official PTO site. Frequently, you don’t even require an attorney, although it can be useful to have an attorney to deal with these formalities. The average fee for filing a trademark for domain name is 325 USD per class when you file it digitally with the use of TEAS (Trademark Electronic-Application System) of the PTO. However, it can charge you more money if you’ll be providing a number of dissimilar services on your site.

To finish the process of trademark registration, you have to really be employing the domain-name on a site. However you can begin the procedure if you try to employ domain name soon (an intent-to-use request). When you begin employing the name and finish the process of registration, the date of application will be considered as the date you initially employed the trademark. This will provide you a precedence claim over potential users. At what time you file an intent-to-use request and then finish the procedure after you start employing the domain, you spend an extra 150 USD fee.

Well, a PTO may take one or two year to process your request prior to issue a formal trademark. But, as soon as you file it, your domain will emerge as an awaiting trademark in the database of PTO. In case, you file a “use” request (depending on your real usage of name), you’ll possibly stay in touch with the PTO in 3 to 6 months. If you find any problem with your selected name, you’ll get a memo from your trademark examiner clarifying the reasons. In several instances, you will be capable to solve the issues on a phone call, though in more intricate cases, you also require retaining a trademark attorney to support on your behalf.

In just 3 months, you should get a Notice of Publication. After that PTO will post our trademark in its Authorized Gazette, therefore enabling other people to counter your registration. In case there is no opponent, then you will obtain a Certificate of Registration. Otherwise, in case of intent-to-use trademark that hasn’t been positioned in business a Notice of Allowance. Since this might sound like a quick and fast procedure, understand that it can possibly take one or more year to finish. Afterward, there’ll be a few cleaning tasks that are required to keep your registration operational. For instance, among 5 and 6 years after the registration of the trademark, you will require informing to the PTO personnel that you are still employing it. It is important for you to renew your registration after every 10 years and amongst the 5th and 6th year after registration; you have to file an affidavit stating the continuous use. This is usually referred to as a Section-8 declaration.

When does a domain-name succeed as a trademark?

Basically a trademark is a logo, symbol, name, or other device that is employed to recognize and differentiate a service or product from other rivals. Not all domain names are entitled to trademark security. The usage of generic or common domain names won’t normally fulfill the requirements of trademark. But, domain name trademark implements to a domain name when:

  • It is unique or its dissimilarity outcome from customer relation of the domain name and online business
  • The domain name owner was the first person to employ it in relation with the deal of services or goods.
  • At what times trademark law secured a domain-name, the domain owner has the right to forbid the usage of misspelled names or similar names by others.

How do you check the accessibility of a Domain-name?

Since a domain name has to be exclusive, it is only accessible to one customer. The accessibility of a domain-name can be decided by seeking the site of an ICANN approved internet registrar of domain-names. The sites ICANN and InterNIC list the accepted registrars. In case a domain-name is occupied, it’s simple to find out the owner. A search on a website such as www.whois.net will get back the contact details of the owner. In a few cases, it may be unfeasible to find the owner when the candidate gives fake details to the registrant.

In case the domain owner is a cybersquatter, an individual that traffics, registers or employs a domain with the intention to sell it for revenue, it may be doable to still get the domain when it’s bought in wrong faith. In fact, there are 2 alternatives: prosecute the squatter under ACPA (Anticybersquatter Consumer-Protection Act) or have the case judged by ICANN. Negotiation is far less expensive compared to suing the cybersquatter.

Security Of Domains As A Trademark

The online domain-names have turn into more than just showing the sites of various companies on the web. At present, in this era of well-built information technology and global businesses via Internet, these domains have got the fame of being promoters and business identifiers. Because the commercial activities on the web are to keep on growing bit by bit, the usefulness and significance of domain names as well, are to be improved for the reasons of better publicity, profitability, and popularity of businesses in all financial sectors.

As said by Bill Gates, the creator of Microsoft, “Domain names have and will keep going up in worth quicker than any other product famous to man”. Generally, the tasks of domains are rather same as to the tasks of a service mark or trademark for these reasons. As this extremely useful web-article provides securing, hugely beneficial and rich information about the protection and registration of the domain names as service mark or trademark, with an insight to assist and cater people, professions, and companies relating to varied economic and occupational fields.

Role of a Trademark and a Domain Name

Well, a domain-name is rather comprehensible form of an IP (Internet Protocol) address; the technical IP (Internet Protocol) address of this being unseen to the audience. URL to the Web Servers are allocated and managed via DNS (Domain Name System), the internationally shared online database administered and regulated by ICANN. “inta.org”, is an example of a domain-name. Here, the name section of a domain-name (inta, in this case) is known as the Second-Level Name, plus this brilliant and unique name is to be formed or chosen by the domain-name aspirant. The last part of the domain (.org, in this case) is stated as the TLD (Top-Level Domain); plus is again categorized into the sections of the gTLDs (Generic Top-Level Domains) and ccTLDs (Country-Code Top-Level Domains). Some of the famous and usual categories of the TLD are .in, .net, .gov, .org, .com etc.

Basically, a domain name does the exact thing online, which a trademark caters in the offline transactions and business dealings. Since the trademark is prominent graphic signifier of your company or product, the domain name is wonderful navigator to your brand on the web, and the digital picture of your business. Duly protected and registered domain name and trademark can provide the below mentioned advantages –

  • A service mark or trademark protects and promotes your brand name, whereas a protected or registered domain name offers you the security against any illegal usage of your domain by any unit or person.
  • Trademark sustains the face-value of your profession or business, whereas a domain-name boosts access value of your industry from any distant place of the earth over.
  • A service mark or trademark makes your any service or product well-known in the apprehensive market, whereas a domain name alone can also work its best to carry your service or product to your customer globally.

Therefore, a properly secured domain name is surely hugely useful for profitability, worldwide fame, and security of a business, similar to a globally secured service mark or trademark. Therefore, appropriate protection and registration of both the domain name and trademark are very important and advisable.

 

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