Domain Trademarks | Infringing on Trademarks with your Domain?
Get the facts on domain trademarks. Don’t bother wasting money on a company name you can’t use due to trademark issues. Learn what we’re talking about here.
Infringing on Trademarks with your Domain?
I came across a great article recently on domain trademark infringement. It doesn’t make any sense to get a great name if you can’t use it. At Brandings we undertake the preliminary screening as part of our Comprehensive Brand Evaluation Report (CBER). A full description of which can be found at How Brandings Works.
So you’re ready to start an on-line business and you’ve poured all of your creativity into a brand name you really like. You are now logged into a Go Daddy account and you’re ready to buy a domain…STOP! Don’t do it yet.
It would seem all you have to do is check to see if that domain name is available, but that is so “not true”. You see, it’s possible that you could pick a name that is trademarked by someone else. And the worst part, “I didn’t know someone had a trademark” is not going to work as a defense. All the trademark owner needs to prove is that they owned the trademark (and properly registered it) and you used it. That’s it. In many cases, there is $100,000 in statutory (automatic) damages awarded plus attorney fees. IP, or intellectual property, attorneys are very expensive and those attorney fees could run up another $50,000, bringing your total liability to $150,000.
So before you pick that name, you need to do some searching yourself. First, go to TESS, the Trademark Electronic Search System and select the free form search. Next, put in the domain you want (you will also want to put in variations that are logically close, such as synonyms and variant spellings) into the search term.
For instance, I see a lot of people creating sites like carboncopyproreview or carboncopyproscam. Those are completely infringing. See for yourself by typing in “carboncopypro” into the search term and click on submit query. You will quickly see that it is owned by JAY KUBASSEK, INC. CORPORATION.
If your search turns up any names that are the same or similar to your proposed domain name, ask these questions:
- Is your business/website going to offer goods or services that compete with the goods or services being sold under the similar domain name?
- Is your business/website going to offer goods or services that typically are distributed in the same channels as the goods or services being sold under the similar domain name?
- Is it possible your business/website could take business away from the site with the similar name?
- Is your business/domain name so similar to the other domain name that people search for that one end up on yours?
Even worse, now you have to start back at square one and pick out a new name for your business.
– Tommy Merlot mentors entrepreneurs. Tommy created TommyUniversity, which sold out in 24 hours. Now Tommy teaches others on how to lead with value. You can read more about me at my blog Tommy Merlot Blog. Pay it forward my friends…Article Source: Ezine Articles.com
Update: The more things change the more they stay the same. You should always check to see if you can use a name before you buy it. The brandings team has come together to bring some you some great information about trademarking and whether or not you should do it but also great and free ways that you can check to see if a name is already in use. Please check out the Brandings About Trademarks and Other Questions article and feel free to use it as a resource for guiding you though this issue.
If you have any ideas, questions or tips please let us know by posting it below.