You recently registered a domain for your website. The domain name is catchy and you think you can do more with it. Possibly register it as a trademark. After all, a domain name trademark will protect both from others and it would look more professional having a trademark and domain name with the same name.
The registering a trademark as a domain and a domain as a trademark is doable if the person registering them has the intention to use them for their business.
Before you go about getting a domain name trademark, you need to check and see whether your domain name can be registered as a trademark and whether that trademark is available.
Trademark vs. Domain Name
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a trademark is “a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”
The trademarks of most large, international companies are easily recognizable, such as the apple icon on a laptop or cellphone, indicating that it is an Apple product.
What is a domain name?
According to Webopedia, a domain name is “used to identify one or more IP addresses.” The Internet is set up to locate websites based on IP addresses. The problem is that IP addresses come as a long string of numbers. It would hard to find websites based on IP addresses. Domain name servers translate the long numerical IP address into worded website URLs, making the web easier to navigate.
Trademarks and domain names are therefore different, yet can both be used to identify the goods and services of a company.
It is possible to register both.
Why Register Your Domain as a Trademark?
Having a domain name trademark will better protect you in court should someone intentionally or unintentionally use your trademark or domain name. Being the registered owned will help you convince the judge of trademark infringement and, if the other party intentionally infringed upon your trademark.
Can My Domain Name be Registered?
Domain names can be registered as a trademark but they must satisfy certain criteria.
The USPTO is particular about what can be registered as a domain name. Generic domain names such as law.com, can’t be registered as a trademark. If your domain name doesn’t clearly indicate all your services, it also can’t be registered. For example, the law office of Smith and Barney can register a domain name of Smith&Barney.com, but it wouldn’t be able to trademark it because it doesn’t indicate the services it offers. A domain that also merely states the service offered, such as buyfurniture.com, also won’t qualify for a trademark.
A domain name, can qualify as a trademark when it is tied to a website that offers public services. used in connection with a website that offers services to the public.
You can still register a domain name trademark in the future.
To do this, you must fill out an “intent to use” application at the US Patent and Trademark office before you begin using the domain. After the application is approved, the domain must be used six months to three years.
How to Register Your Domain Name as a Trademark
It is easy to file your domain name trademark. The application can be found on the USPTO website. It cost $325, but that price could go up with the more services you offer. You also need to fill out an “intent to use” form. To complete the registration process, you need to be using the domain on the website you want to have trademarked.
The process is often lengthy, often taking more than year. During that time, your proposed trademark domain name will be published in the USPTO’s Official Gazette during which people can oppose your trademark. If no opposition occurs, the trademark will continue through the registration process.
Domain Name Trademark Problems
Registering a domain name as a trademark is not, however, without its challenges.
The most common complication that arises is where one party owns the trademark while another owns the domain name.
In this case, you’re likely out of luck, unless the other party is willing to surrender the domain name or trademark.
This is where “cybersquatters” come into the picture. These individuals buy a domains and trademarks to sell them to the highest bidder. These “cybersquatters” can easily upsell the price on a domain or trademark is they are highly sought after and people are desperate to get them.
This practice is illegal and business owners are encouraged to report offenders to the USPTO.
If you’re looking for a quality domain name to register as a trademark, check out Domain Market’s large selection of brandable and premium domains.