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Trademark/Copyright Domains

Trademark/Copyright Domains - When you register your domain name you may wish to associate your web address with your business trademark or copyright. Keep reading to learn more about trademarking your domain name, and how to trademark your domain name.

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More and more, who you are online defines who you are in other circles. Indeed, because of the reach of the Internet, your domain name may be associated with you in a very real way that you cannot deny. Indeed, the fact that your online identity is so entwined with your offline identity means that you must do what you can to protect it – especially if you are using your domain name to transact business.

Trademarking your domain name

If you want to protect your domain name from interlopers who might try to use your good name to bolster their own credentials, it is vital that you consider trademarking your domain name. In order to trademark it, however, you must intend to use the domain name in commerce. If you use the name already, you have some degree of protection. If you haven’t started using the domain name for commerce, however, it is not protected unless you notify the United States Patent and Trademark Office that you intend to use it for commerce. Understand that registering a domain name does not mean that it is trademarked or copyrighted. If you want the protection of trademark legal status, you have to go through the process.

Here are the steps you need to go through in order to trademark domains:

  1. Engage in a trademark search: You have to make sure that your trademark doesn’t conflict with another trademark that is already in existence. This means that you should proceed carefully. You can search the Patent and Trademark Web site to look for conflicting trademarks. Realize that the Office will accept your application (and filing fee) even if there is already a trademark conflict. All it means is that your application will be rejected if someone else has been there first – and you are out the fee. Also, it is a good idea to do a trademark search before registering a domain name. Registrars don’t have to check, so you may actually register something that is trademarked. Imagine getting a cease and desist when someone challenges you! It’s always best to safe and search before deciding on a domain name.
  2. Complete a trademark application: Your trademark is referred to as a “mark”. There are three different applications that you can choose from. Make sure you choose the right application for the usage you are looking for. There is an application for those who have already used the trademark for commerce in the U.S., a different application for those who plan to use the trademark in commerce, and a third application for those have registered a trademark in another country and want protection in the United States. You will have to submit an image of the mark, and how it will look, as well as three specimens of each type of goods you are selling. It takes about four months for the Patent and Trademark Office to review your application and decide to accept or reject it.
  3. Make sure your trademark remains protected: In order to let others know that you have registered the trademark, you can use the ™ designation. There is also an SM symbol that can be used. The ® symbol indicates that it has been registered. A registration lasts 10 years, and if you want it renewed, you have to file an affidavit between the fifth and sixth year. After that, and your first renewal, as long as you renew every 10 years, you can keep your trademark. If others use your trademark after you have asked them to stop, you can take legal action to prevent defamation, and also to recover proceeds that others have made by using your trademark.

Just because it’s a domain name doesn’t mean that it can’t be trademarked. In fact, if your domain name is the name of your company, you should probably make sure that it is trademarked. With all that is on the line, you want to make sure that your reputation is protected, and that others can’t take advantage of the hard work you have put in.

Related Article: Keyword Domain Name >>

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