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good morning Angela lying Lots trademarking business law attorney here going live like I do every weekday to answer people's trademark law questions so if you hear say hi send me a comment or a love heart or a thumbs up let me know you're here today I'm answering a question somebody asked me a little while ago they said Angela can I register a trademark for my domain name and I thought about that and I gave a very lawyer-like answer and the answer is it depends it depends on what your domain name is why is that well recall a couple of weeks ago I talked about how there are certain there are certain phrases and words that do not make good trademarks and among those are descriptive terms and a lot of times people will try to come up with a domain name that is good for some purposes like SEO purposes right for search engine optimization let's say that you sell cars and your domain is by cars.com right so you have a website and on that website people can buy cars or get information about buying cars well it so happens that by cars.com in that context is merely descriptive of the goods and services that you're offering which is basically an opportunity to buy cars and a website where people can go to buy cars so in that context your website domain name by cars.com is going to be considered merely descriptive for that website where people can go and buy cars and it is likely going to get a merely descriptive refusal unless the trademark examiner asleep that day I have in the past seen some merely descriptive trademarks get registered but again I think the trademark examiner was sleeping that day so in that case you would not be able to get a trademark registration for that domain now let's say that Oh what else what's a good example let's say that you have a made-up trademark so you have the same website where people can buy cars but this time you're your domain name is giggles.com where people can go and have fun buying a car right and you want to register giggles.com for these goods a website where people can where consumers can get information about car prices online giggles.com and you want to register that for those goods and services that would be perfectly fine because giggles.com has absolutely nothing to do with anything generic anything descriptive about your website which is where people go and have fun buying cars maybe they have fun but giggles is merely suggestive of something fun so that's the analysis the calculus that you have to do when you're trying to figure out if you can or cannot register a trademark for your domain so if you have any more questions feel free to message this page or leave me a comment and I will be back tomorrow with more scintillating trademark information so come right back like my trademark trademark doctor dotnet page here on face book and you will be notified every single time I go live so you won't miss a thing thanks and have a great day
Thanks for your comment Jay Slocomb, have a nice day.
- Pearlene Nicolaisen, 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 Lesley your participation is very much appreciated
- Pearlene Nicolaisen
About the author
I've studied fuzzy logic group theory at Friends University in Wichita and I am an expert in historical linguistics. I usually feel complacent. My previous job was fabric and apparel patternmakers I held this position for 13 years, I love talking about tarot and fly tying. Huge fan of Khloe Kardashian I practice fencing and collect stock and bond certificates.
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