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Written by : Rick Bachtell
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all right Baron Branson asked me on Quora am I allowed to use a trademark word within my domain address such as Shopify I'm Andre mink of the father of trademark factory and here's my answer to Berens question I hate saying this but it really depends on a couple of things one it depends on what the word is how common it is outside of the brand that it's trademarked for like Apple right if you're selling apples nothing prevents you from using the word Apple in the domain name Apple and the other thing to look at is what your activity is are you trying to create the perception that you're somehow associated with licensed by or endorsed by that other brand and if you do such a thing but then the brand owner would probably have a pretty good case against you not being allowed to put their name and your domain name but if what you're doing has nothing to do with what they do then it should be okay right again two things how uncommon their word is and two are you trying to convince the world that you're somehow associated with them to the specific question of Shopify if Shopify is the word then it could be an issue because it's an invented word that they came up with a they trademarked and yeah so if they feel that whatever you're doing your domain name or your activity behind the domain name somehow threatens the integrity of their brand they'll probably go after you and they're probably gonna be able to win but the rule of thumb here is if you're not sure don't do that because it's a lot easier to build a brand from scratch that doesn't rely on you getting away with what might be perceived as an infringement versus you're just starting out with a name that's new that's unique that you can build some massive value on and claim it as your own this is what Shopify did they didn't call themselves my Amazon if I or you know Walmart fi or something else they came up with our own name and they made that into a name that everyone finds very valuable now Baron I hope this answers your question and if you absolutely hated this video but you watched it all the way up to here subscribe now because you post videos just like this every day so whatever held you watching this up to here there'll be a lot more to come so subscribe now get notified whenever the next one comes live until then I'll see you in the next video
Thanks for your comment Kermit Arner, have a nice day.
- Rick Bachtell, Staff Member
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 istragol your participation is very much appreciated
- Rick Bachtell
About the author
I've studied infrastructure at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande and I am an expert in biogeophysics. I usually feel cheerful. My previous job was storage and distribution manager I held this position for 7 years, I love talking about teaching and bonsai. Huge fan of Beto O'Rourke I practice rugby and collect barbie dolls.
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