Do You Need a Trademark for Your Domain Name?

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Key Takeaways

  • Domain name trademarks protect against infringements on your domain name.
  • Trademarks are essential for online businesses.
  • They should be used for branded domain names.

 

Registering a domain name for your online business is an essential step towards getting online. Your web address will become your online identity. It will be what prospective customers use to find you on the internet whether using a search engine or typing directly into their browser.

For some online businesses, trademarking a domain name is either unnecessary or impossible. However, others acquire a trademark to provide them with the legal recourse they’ll need should infringements against their domain occur.

After all, why let someone else profit from the hard work you’ve put into developing your brand — and your website — if there is a way to prevent it? With a trademark in place, you may be able to challenge any company that copies your idea, using a similar domain name while offering similar products and services.

Keep in mind that your domain name may be especially vulnerable if:

You Are an Online-Only Business
If your business only operates online, your domain name is essentially your entire identity. With such importance placed on your web address, your need for protection is much greater.

You Use a Branded Domain Name
If your domain is your company name, corporate identity theft becomes a larger issue. While it is not possible for someone to register the same domain name, they may use a “spin-off” of your web address that accomplishes the same goal.

On the same note, trademarking a domain is probably not a solution for someone who uses a domain name that describes the products and services offered by a company, rather than the company itself. In fact, acquiring such a trademark could be impossible.

You Don’t Register Alternate Domain Extensions of Your Domain Name
When registering a domain, it’s typically a good idea to register alternate domain extensions or top-level domains (TLDs) and common misspellings before your competitors can. For example, Network Solutions owns networksolutions.com, networksolutions.net and networksolutions.org.

While the cost of maintaining multiple domain registrations can add up, it may still be less expensive than obtaining a trademark for your domain name. However, with so many unique TLDs available, it makes the prospect of trademarking your domain name worth consideration.

Thinking Ahead
Before applying for a trademark for your domain name, consider your business’s vulnerability to brand theft. If you are at high risk – and your budget will allow the extra cost – it could be a worthwhile investment.

Products mentioned in this blog post include:

Domain Name Search and Registration

 

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