Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Domain names and trademarks


#1

Hi all. We seem to have a few Orchidians who are knowledgeable about
trademarks, so I’m hoping someone can answer this one. Could
registering a .com domain name be considered a “poor man’s
trademark”? In other words, could owning a.com name prevent anyone
else from subsequently claiming that name as a trademark? Thanks!

Allan Mason


#2
registering a.com domain name be considered a "poor man's
trademark"? 

Emphatically, NO. But it is a start. Trademarks gain their basic
rights through USE, NOT Registration. Trademark registration (not
domain registration) gives you some official notice value and some
other benefits but you can’t actually finish the registration without
USE in commerce. Dig around the USPTO.gov and the wipo.int sites and
you’ll find more on the subject of domain names re trademark. But
some essentials are the farther toward the fanciful and arbitrary end
of the continuum you are the more strength you’ll have, the
promptness and breadth of putting it to use (excluding the TLD part,
e.g.,.com,.biz) will significantly impact any chance you have at
retaining any rights, and, of course, the absence of overriding
contrary factors could be a major key that you FAIL to answer with a
mere domain name registration (example, choosing code-aak.com for
photography would be a waste of money).

Don’t NOT do it. By all means do it ----AND do the followed by
superscript TM too (you can do that without anyone’s permission
whatsoever), and sell like crazy (you can do that without "much"
permission too most places). Just be sure you’ve really made a much
more thorough effort to turn up conflicts than a mere “no-one else
has registered it yet” search.

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites: www.willitsell.com www.inventorhome.com,
www.idearights.com www.taletyano.com www.booksforinventors.com


#3
Could registering a.com domain name be considered a "poor man's 
trademark"?

No, not even remotely. Example, in the early days of dot coms, large
companies that where slow to register dotcom domains of their
Trademarked company names (like Coke-Cola) found themselves buying
(in some cases for big bucks) their domain names from someone smart
enough to grab it early on.

More over, even registering a business name in one state doesn’t
really stop someone from registering a business by the same name in
another state, or for that matter in the same state but as a
diffternt business model… ie, you sell jewelry, they sell
t-shirts.

As far as I know only a Registered Business with a Registered
Trademark Name gives you that protection… and even then you
better buy the domain name before someone else does, even if you
don’t intend to have a website.

gWebber


#4
No, not even remotely. Example, in the early days of dot coms,
large companies that where slow to register dotcom domains of their
Trademarked company names (like Coke-Cola) found themselves buying
(in some cases for big bucks) their domain names from someone smart
enough to grab it early on. 

It is true in the early days several folks got away with this
extortion but it is now established that if you have a Trademark
that pre-dates the issuing of the domain name that you can petition
the internet naming commission for and gain control of that domain
name without an paying exorbitant fee to the registrant.

You are right that a domain name is in no way a trademark. Anyway
Trademarks are not too expensive, less than $400 if you do it
yourself.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550