If you have recently registered your domain of our website, you certainly have taken the right decision. If you feel that your domain name is catchy and if you feel that it can serve your long term business interests then you must certainly try and register it. If you register your domain name it will go a long way in protecting it from others using it. Further you also would be looked upon as a professional business house having the domain name and trademark as the same.
The process of registering a domain as trademark and vice-versa is very much possible if the entity doing so has the objective of using it for business purposes. However, you have to find out and see if your domain name has the capability of being registered as trademark and you must also check on the availability of the trademark.
Domain Name vs Trademark
As per USPTO, when one talks about a trademark, it is referred to as a word, design, symbol, or it could be even a combination of different words, symbols, phrases and designs. They should identify and separate the goods and services of one business from that of the other. When we look at the trademarks of big, transnational companies we will find that they are quite easily recognizable. Simple examples are Apple icon whenever you buy a laptop or mobile phone.
Something About Domain Name
When we talk about domain name, we use it to identity IP addresses. It could be one or more. The purpose of internet is to locate websites and it is identified based on IP addresses. IP addresses are long list of number and it would be difficult to identify website based on IP addresses. When we choose domain names, servers find it easy to translate these long IP address numbers into understandable website URLs. This makes it easier for the web to navigate the same. On the other hand trademarks are different from domain names, though they can be used for identifying the services or good produced and sold by a company.
Can Both Be Registered And If So Why?
Registering a domain name trademark will protect you in the court of law in case somebody by intention or innocence uses your trademark or even the domain name. If your domain name is registered you will be able to impress upon the court that there has been an infringement of trademark and this will keep you on a safe pedestal.
Can I Register My Domain Name?
Yes it is possible to register domain names as trademark, subject to satisfaction of some criteria. There are some rules laid down by USPTO which must be adhered to. It is very particular as to what could be registered as domain names. It is not possible to registered generic domains such as Law.com. Further your domain name must clearly indicate the services which you offer, failing which registration can be refused. If you are into legal services as Thomas & Lewis you perhaps can register your domain as Thomas&Lewis.com. However, you may not be able to get a trademark out of it because it does not talk about the services you offer. Further if a domain just talks about the services offered such as buypizza.com, it certainly will not qualify for a trademark.
When Can It Qualify As a Trademark?
It is possible for a domain name to qualify as a trademark if it is connected to a website which offers services that are public in nature. It must be in conjunction with the website that is supposed to offer these services to the public.
Future Registration Of Domain Name Trademark Is Possible
It is also possible to register a domain name as a trademark in the future. However, for this to fructify, the intent of use form must be filled up. This has to be done at the US Trademark & Patent Office and only then you must use the domain. Once the application is approved, the domain must be put to use for six months to a period of three years.
Process To Register Domain Name As Trademark
It is quite easy to file the domain name trademark. There is an application form which can be accessed on the USPTO website. It should cost around $325 and could go up depending on the services which you plan to offer. There also is the need to fill out the intent to use form. The registration process can be completed by using the domain on your website which you want to trademark.
You have to understand that the process is lengthy and could take one year or more. In the meantime, your trademark domain will be published in the Official Gazette of USPTO. During this period people can express their opposition to the trademark. If there is no opposition, the trademark can continue and complete the registration process.
Problems You Could Face in Domain Name Trademark
Registering domain name and making it as a trademark has a few challenges. The most common problem is when party one owns the trademark whereas the party two owns the domain name. This could be a tough job because the other party must be ready to surrender the domain trademark or name.
It is here that cybersquatters come into the fore. They are the ones who buy domains and trademarks and then sell them to those who place the highest bid. They have the capacity of up-selling the price for a domain or trademark. They are often highly sought after persons if people are keen on getting them at any cost. It is an illegal process and the business owners should report the same to USPTO.
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