Domain Names and Trademarks
Domain names and trademarks can usually be perceived as going hand in hand; however, they are two entirely different ways to protect your businesses brand.
A domain name is an internet address e.g., www.trademarkroom.com whereas a trademark is any word, symbol or logo registered with an Intellectual Property Office and is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.
Contrary to the common misconception, simply registering a domain name does not amount to having rights for the trade mark. However generally, you will find the name of a domain and the name of a trade mark for a brand are either the identical or very similar. With this, a common issue that could arise is that when seeking to register a domain name that corresponds with your registered mark, you may find the name is already taken. This may give indication of cyber-squatting.
Cyber-squatting occurs where a third party registers a domain name as a trademark by exploiting the first come first serve nature of the registration system. Usually, cyber-squatters auction the domain name for a much higher price than the cost of registration.
As such, it is important to ensure in securing a domain name that corresponds with your trademark. To prevent potential cyber-squatting, you may also wish to further consider acquiring as many variations of the domain name as possible. For example, using spelling variations or .net and .org variations. This will not only protect you against cyber squatters, but also against other businesses using your brand name as a domain address which could, in essence, weaken the distinctiveness of your trade mark.
Although trade marks are generally considered more valuable than domain names, the costs of auction for a corresponding domain name could be extremely high. You may therefore wish to consider obtaining both the domain name and trade mark simultaneously.
If you have any questions regarding trademarks, please contact the Trademarkroom today where we would be happy to assist you!
By Sena Tokel