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Trademarking your domain name

Do you do it? What if you have dozens of domains?

6:24 am on Jul 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I know this isn't the place for legal advice, but i'd like to know wether you guys trademark your domain names with the patent office (assuming the domain/site is a money making entity). do you feel its necessary? what if you have a lot of domains? the trademake process doesn't seem cheap, from what i've found, and it seems that if you've been doing business under your domain name, then that should provide you some coverage in and of itself. definitely not sure in this matter though. what do you guys think? necessary expense? or simply a nice-to-have once you can't find better ways to spend your cash (e.g., vs. marketing or content building)?
10:38 am on July 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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the trademake process doesn't seem cheap

Here in the UK, it is quite cheap (around 200) - you don't say where in the world you are.

if you've been doing business under your domain name, then that should provide you some coverage in and of itself.

It does. From the UK patent office (www.patent.gov.uk):

If your trade mark is not registered you may seek redress through the courts under common law in a passing off action. For this to succeed you must persuade the court, first that the mark used by someone else is associated in the public mind with your own product or service, and secondly that the other person's goods have been mistaken for your own.

However, if your mark is registered you may sue for infringement under trade marks law. For this to succeed you have only to show that someone else has used a mark which is the same as (or similar to) your own registered mark on goods or services which are the same as (or similar to) the goods or services for which your mark is registered.

In certain circumstances the deliberate use of your registered mark on goods, by another person and without your knowledge, may be classed as counterfeiting. This is a criminal offence, and criminal proceedings may be initiated under trade marks law by police and Trading Standards Officers.

hth, a.

6:44 pm on July 13, 2005 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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My first approach would be to tradmark the brand/site name. For example, if your site is AlbinoWidgets.com, and your topic is automotive related, a trademark for "AlbinoWidgets" would probably give you protection in a broad range of uses. If your name is fairly generic and untrademarkable, though, trademarking the domain would be a reasonable alternative. BestBuy.com, for example, has been trademarked by the electronics chain despite the fairly generic Best Buy store name.
8:12 pm on July 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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In Illinois registering a trademark is only $10, which is good for five years. After that, it's $5 to renew. It doesn't register it across the country, but is a good start and sometimes all you need in court to show that you had a particular trademark first, if there's a dispute.
12:36 am on July 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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a trademark registration is a necessary expense - lasts for years and could save you a lot of time, hassle and expense in the future

i've registered the trademark in the UK for one of my brands (ie, WIDGET) but the registration for the domain name (ie, WIDGET.COM) itself has to be separate as the mark is different

i've been advised that it's a good idea to register the trademark on the domain name as well as the brand - the trademark registration for the brand "might" cover the use of the domain name, but a trademark on the domain (WIDGET.COM) won't cover the use of the word (WIDGET)

my advice is to speak to a trademark attorney (or two) and get some advice - they charge a fortune, so consider filling in the forms yourself - but make sure a trademark attorney looks over your application before you send it in

the UK patent office are fairly easy to deal with, fairly helpful etc (once you have a good idea about what you're doing etc)


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