Can a domain name also function as a trademark [Expert Guide]

Last updated : Aug 13, 2022
Written by : Lisha Calvani
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Can a domain name also function as a trademark

Can a domain name act as a trademark?

A mark comprised of a domain name may be registered as a trademark or service mark in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, just like any other mark, the domain name is registrable only if it functions to identify the particular source of goods or services offered.

Do I need a trademark if I own the domain?

Domain name trademarks protect against infringements on your domain name. Trademarks are essential for online businesses. They should be used for branded domain names.

Do you copyright or trademark a domain name?

Copyright law does not protect domain names. Even though copyright doesn't protect domain names, that doesn't mean domain names are entirely unprotected. Trademark law protects web addresses.

How are domain names and trademarks related?

Domain name Domain names are used to locate and bring users to a specific website or place on the internet. Trade mark A trade mark is used to identify and distinguish your goods or services in the marketplace.

What is the difference between a domain name and a trademark?

A domain name is registered so that there is an internet address. A trademark is registered to identify a product or service. A business name is registered to identify a business that wishes to trade other than with its own name. A company name is the name of a specific type of legal entity.

How do I know if a domain is trademarked?

You can search all applied-for and registered trademarks free of charge by using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)'s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).

Can a domain name violate a trademark?

Domain name trademark infringement occurs when a person or business uses a domain name that is protected by a trademark, thereby infringing upon another's trademark protection.

How much does it cost to trademark a domain?

The typical filing fee for a domain name mark is $325 per class (2018 figure) if you file electronically using the PTO's Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS ). It can cost more, however, if you will be offering a number of different services on your website.

What happens if someone trademark my domain name?

If you trademark your domain name, you have legal protection if someone uses your trademarked name. You can sue the other company and recover financial losses you might have incurred.

What violates a trademark?

Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services.

How long is a trademark good for?

A federal trademark lasts 10 years from the date of registration, with 10-year renewal terms. Between the fifth and sixth year after the registration date, the registrant must file an affidavit to state that the mark is still in use.

What are the 4 types of trademarks?

  • Generic. A generic term is a common description that does not receive trademark protection.
  • Descriptive.
  • Suggestive.
  • Arbitrary or Fanciful.

Can you trademark a name already in use but not trademarked?

1. Can You File for a Trademark That Exists? Updated November 12, 2020: If you're wondering, "can you trademark something that already exists," the simple answer is "no." Generally speaking, if somebody has used a trademark before you, you can't register the trademark for yourself.

Can there be two trademarks with the same name?

The short answer is, “it depends.” It depends on (1) Whether the other business is in the same industry; (2) Whether the other business is in the same geographical market; (3) Who was using the mark first; and (4) Who registered the trademark first.

Should I trademark my logo and business name?

For this reason, you should apply for both trademark registrations if you have a business name and a logo you wish to protect. Wordmarks and design marks represent two very different aspects of your brand. Protecting just your name may not sufficiently protect your logo from being used by someone else.

Can you lose a trademark if you don't protect it?

If you don't enforce your trademark, you risk losing reputation, business, sales, customers, and more to the infringer. There's also a concept in trademark law called abandonment. Generally, if you don't use your mark for three years or more, it's considered abandoned.

When should I trademark my business name?

In most cases, the best time to file a trademark application for your business name is right after you've filed paperwork to form your LLC or corporation. By doing this before your business officially launches, it protects the name for commercial use once you're up and running.

What words Cannot be trademarked?

  • Proper names or likenesses without consent from the person.
  • Generic terms, phrases, or the like.
  • Government symbols or insignia.
  • Vulgar or disparaging words or phrases.
  • The likeness of a U.S. President, former or current.
  • Immoral, deceptive, or scandalous words or symbols.
  • Sounds or short motifs.

Which types of trademarks Cannot be used?

Trademarks which contain or comprise matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities of any class or sections of citizens of India. Trademarks which contain or comprise scandalous or obscene matter. If the usage of the trademark is prohibited under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.

What is needed for a trademark?

Two basic requirements must be met for a mark to be eligible for trademark protection: it must be in use in commerce and it must be distinctive. The first requirement, that a mark be used in commerce, arises because trademark law is constitutionally grounded in the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce.

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Can a domain name also function as a trademark

Comment by Russ Cohron

that's answering your questions live about trademarks copyrights and anything else IP you would like to ask me now my friend Rob and Spa wanted to know he said you see these gurus teaching people how to buy and sell domains but very rarely do they tell them about the negative aspects of domain squatting nor what will happen when they're told to hand over a domain I know someone who bought a domain with the wheel word realtor in it like realtor for life or builder help he was actually studying to be a realtor 24 hours after buying the domain he received a letter telling him to turn it over he let it expire a year later but he did receive several threatening letters seems some companies monitor the purchase of domains just to be vigilant in defending their IP is this prudent for a ten dollar domain that may or may not ever be used hi Linda nice to have you here well Rob to answer your question there are trademark owners who are much more vigilant than others about protecting their IP and the realtor people happen to be one of one such trademark owner they are very very vigilant about protecting their realtor trademark and I don't know if you know that the word realtor actually is a trademark for a whole bunch of stuff and when you're a trademark owner one of the things that you get to do is you get to force people who have registered domains with your trademark in them to hand over the domain to you if they're just squatting on it now if it's a famous domain like realtor I'm famous trademark rather like real tor then they may have extra protection against things like dilution and tarnishment which is another subject altogether but we can talk about that if people have questions they have a right to prevent their trademark from being diluted tarnished by people who are using their trademark in their domain so yes they do have that right and they're justifiably very protective of that trademark because it is so valuable to them they actually charge people who sell real estate a fee to use the term realtor so that piece of intellectual property because their licensing it to people that piece of intellectual property is very very valuable to them hey Aaron nice to see you here fellow attorney my fellow attorneys watch me on Facebook I love it so that piece of intellectual property is very valuable to them from a licensing standpoint and the people who are licensing it from them justifiably have the expectation that other people who aren't paying to license it right so there's a bunch of people who are paying to license it so why would they pay to license it if other people could just waltz in and use it without paying that makes no sense if you're paying for something the idea that somebody else is getting to use what you're paying for for free is kind of offensive right we would all agree with that so the realtor people are very very vigilant about protecting that trademark and you can actually there's a uniform domain transfer act that's not what it's called is called you derp sounds like something you know you do after a big meal I don't know but there is actually a process for having domains that were registered and it's kind of an anti squatting thing if you acquired the trademark you own the trademark you registered the trademark and then somebody else came in afterward and registers a domain using your trademark you have the right to force the transfer of that and there is actually a uniform domain recovery process for that and if anybody has that sort of issue I invite them to contact me because I do that sort of thing another example of someone an entity that is super vigilant about protecting their trademark is entrepreneur man now entrepreneur magazine granted a descriptive mark but they got the mark because they have been using it so long in commerce that now it is it's acquired what we call in trademark land secondary meaning meaning that the mark entrepreneur is now associated with entrepreneur magazine and the other things that they produce so if you register or attempt to register something business-related like related to magazines or podcasts or something like that with the term entrepreneur in it you will hear from entrepreneur magazine okay they are very vigilant about protecting their trademarks so if you try to register a domain name with entrepreneur in it you may hear from them so you know it not everybody is that how do I want to say vicious is the wrong word because I think they absolutely have a right to do it not everybody is that diligent about protecting their trademark but when you have a word like entrepreneur or a word like realtor that everybody seems to want to use then you have to be extra vigilant about shutting down any potential infringers because that could get out of hand really really quickly when you're known as being vigilant and diligent and forceful about protecting your trademarks people infringe less because they know like the word gets out I tell my clients listen do not try to use entrepreneur for anything like related to magazines and media entrepreneur magazine will be all over you and you know they'll shut you down so let's pick something else so having had clients who have heard from Entrepreneur Magazine believe me I am diligent about telling my clients look let's stay away from that because I just know it's we're just buying trouble right and they're not going to get their mark because entrepreneur is gonna send a nasty letter tell them to cease and desist and the trademark office is going to from them they're gonna file an opposition even if the trademark examiner says hey okay I'm approving the mark entrepreneur is going to come in and go nope we're gonna file an opposition and you know prevent you from getting your mark or at least try and we're gonna make a whole bunch of trouble for you and I just tell my client look even if even if the trademark Examiner agrees with us it's not worth it to try to fight entrepreneur magazine so let's pick something else anyway what other questions do people have I am here answering questions and if there aren't any more I will sign off and get back to my my regularly scheduled programming so to speak so if anyone has any questions please put them in the comments I'm actually looking at the comment stream right now using this nifty piece of technology that I'm happy to share with people if you want want a tip Erin so if you want to know Erin Erin's a fellow attorney who likes to do live streams Erin if you want to know about this technology let me know it's pretty spiffy but if there isn't anything more that people want to ask me I'm going to say goodbye and wish everybody a blessed Good Friday and a blessed Easter and I will see you all later bye

Thanks for your comment Russ Cohron, have a nice day.
- Lisha Calvani, Staff Member

Comment by Joanna

hello and welcome today we're going to be talking about if you own your own domain do you also have any trademark rights now the reason why this is important is because intellectual property is confusing or it can be confusing and so i really wanted to to nail or drill down on this to help you understand that there are different components and there are different ways of looking at things if you are new here my name is taylor darcy from think legal where i help you create the business of your dreams so welcome i'm happy to have you here also we go live every monday through friday at 11 so please join us except for holidays that's the only time we don't we don't go live and i'm excited to get talking about this all right so first of all a domain name is not intellectual property sir per se it a domain name is a it's a form that you you do own it but it doesn't intellectual property or traditional intellectual property is a copyright a patent a trademark that type of thing you want to keep that in mind is that a domain name is something that's relatively new compared to traditional uh intellectual property is it possible that there may be a federal someday registration that involves this the answer is yes that's possible is there anything out there yet no it's not anything that is permanent or federally registration that you know and it is evidenced by you're not paying the government for a domain name you're not paying the government to register a domain name you're paying a private company that owns that name and then you purchase that name and a domain name just so you understand context-wise domain name is words that point to an ip address there's something behind it that's not that's not part of it so those those words are just easy you can actually get to your domain from a different from typing by typing in digits and that's the foundation of the domain name at the the basic level so it's not intellectual property in the traditional sense and it does not protect your brand if you get a domain name there is no federal protection for it there's nothing you can do if someone takes your name business-wise federally speaking so that's the that's why there's this important distinction between those uh differences between an intellectual property that is where you can sue such as copyrights trademarks uh patents versus a domain name can't really sue over per per se uh or at the at based on intellectual property on to the next thing a trademark is federally protected in that instance you can sue if someone infringes on your trademark so think nike reebok quiznos any any type of place that has their name trademarked if you try to use it you can be sued for it so you want to keep that in mind that a trademark provides federal protection a domain name provides no protection whatsoever now that being said it doesn't provide the same type of protection if you register a trade or a domain name in the name of a business that's already existing and you don't it can be construed as cyber squadding and that is illegal so it you can't do that so if you the the proper order of operations is you want to establish your business get your trademark get your domain name all in that particular order or at least together now a trademark can take six months or longer to get because the federal government takes three months before they even assign it to their one of their trademark attorneys if you're looking at getting a trademark today is better than tomorrow because it's going to take a little while now i had a trademark that it took almost a year because of the back and forth that we had to do because what we provided wasn't good enough at the beginning and so we provided more and it worked we were able to get that trademark and then i've had trademarks get denied up to unfortunately 20 of all trademarks get denied and it's there's nothing you can do about it that's because they're too similar or there's a myriad of other reasons and so the sooner that you try it the less likely that somebody else will take it and the better off you'll be that's that's why you're you know today is better than tomorrow to do a trademark um and one of the things that i want to point out to people is that a the combination of registering your business name getting your trademark and doing your domain name is the best combination for your protection of your brand your business and your name because that gives you protection on every most every front that is exploitable if you will so you want to keep these types of things in mind as you are making these decisions with your business is that it's not as simple as saying oh i own my own domain name i don't need to register a trademark the the short answer is you do and you do not own it unless you do your own trademark so keep that type of thing in mind as you're running your business as you're making these types of decisions is that it's always better to prevent and save yourself the money than it is to have to litigate it later for something that you did if someone registers your trademark in in before you do it can be an issue because it just gets more complicated that way because it's first to register not first in use most of the time unless they did it with the intent of of defrauding you keep these thoughts in mind if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments i'm here to answer them again we go live every monday through friday uh at 11 except for holidays if you've gotten value out of this video don't forget to hit subscribe and like and we'll see you later you

Thanks Joanna your participation is very much appreciated
- Lisha Calvani

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