peted - 10:36 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)
One very important aspect of what a domain name is or is not, is the tax treatment of its purchase. If a domain name is intangible property purchased and owned by a taxpayer, he can amortize its purchase price over a 15 year period, instead of having the treat the entire purchase price as an expense of the period in which it was purchased. As an example, if I buy buziness.com for $15M, that means I can spread that expense over 15 years, $1M per year, instead of having to take a $15M hit in one year. The effects on yearly profitability and tax liability are enormous. There is another issue in the trademark/tradename area. I understand that the USPTO (patent and trademark office) is permitting the registration of certain domain names. What if the trademark registration period exceeds the domain name registration period, that is, the registration of the domain name expires? Does that mean one can have an exclusive claim to the domain name, even if the domain name registration expires? From my point of view, in light of how the domain name registration system works, I don't see how a domain name can become registered as a trademark. Also, I note that nowhere in the domain name registration system is the word "owner" used. Why isn't a domain name holder referred to as "owner" rather than "registrant"? It's all still unsettled, it seems like no one knows what a domain name is.