When you want to sell your products or services online or to plan an online strategy you need a domain to your web. And this domain must be representative of your business.
It's crucial for trademarks and domain names to work together in order to generate a good online identity.
Trademarks and domain names
A trademark is any sign capable of being represented graphically and allows consumers to associate determined products and/or services with a specific trader, provider or source.
Choosing one’s trademark is no easy process. The amount of time and consideration that should be dedicated to defining how one’s business, products or services are going to be referred can turn this choice into a tedious process. Much analysis must be conducted, not only from a marketing standpoint, but also from a legal one. For further info. read our tips to avoid common mistakes when choosing a trademark.
Trademarks should be registered in every country where they are to be used. That is, if your company plans on expanding to other markets, the trademark you choose should not only be one that works for you in the country where you have chosen to initiate your business, but also in those where you plan to expand. For further info. read about trademarks and their territorial limitations.
Even though you registered your trademark locally, it is possible for an identical trademark to be registered by others in another country. Furthermore, identical trademarks may even be registered in the same country, due to the fact that marks are registered through a class system. There are 45 available classes, and which classes one will register their trademarks in will depend on the nature of the products or services with which the trademark is to be used. Therefore, the same trademark may be registered by different owners for different products or services in the same country. For further info. regarding classification of trademarks read about describing the goods and services associated with a trademark.
Simply put, domain names are the unique address by which users or clients may identify a particular web address or website. For example, the domain name for this website is "igerent . com".
Domain names are composed of different parts. The two basic parts of a domain name are:
- Domain: This is the part between the first and the second dot or period. In the case of www . igerent . com, the domain is “igerent”.
- Top-Level Domain: This is the suffix of a domain name in an Internet address and can be found to the right of the last dot or period. For example, the top-level domain of www . igerent . com is ".com".
Top-Level Domains are also classified as:
Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs): These are the ones that are NOT associated with a specific country, jurisdiction or territory. Example of gTLDs are: .com, .org, ,net, .int, .gov, .edu, .info, .mil, .lawyer, .car, .fashion, .kitchen, .markets, .party, .pharmacy, .security, .tips, .xxx, .xyz.
Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs): These are the ones that are associated with a specific country, jurisdiction or territory. Example of ccTLDs are: .af (Afghanistan), .au (Australia), .bj (Benin), .cn (People's Republic of China), .fr (France), .hk (Hong Kong), .ky (Cayman Islands), .lu (Luxembourg), .nz (New Zealand), .py (Paraguay), .us (United States) .zw (Zimbabwe).
When Choosing, Match Your Trademark and Domain Name (If You Can…)
If choosing an available trademark is difficult, deciding on a company’s domain name may be even harder. Unlike trademarks, domain names are not limited territorially in their use or validity. It means that, unlike trademarks, no two identical domain names can be registered. Although ABC as a trademark may be registered by different owners in every country, or even by two different parties in a same country, only a single holder can exist for the domain name abc.com.
If you are going to invest resources in positioning your trademark, having a domain name identical to it, or at least identical to its predominant word elements, makes sense. Potential clients should be able to find you easily, and unless you have a ridiculously unique trademark that would allow search engines to quickly position your trademark and website highly, having a domain name that allows potential clients to arrive to your web page if they already know your brand is recommended. A domain name can also be used for emails, and being able to have company email addresses that match your main trademark is a basic branding tool.
Currently there are more than 1000 Top-Level Domains available. Although a great number of alternatives for top-level domains exist depending on the nature of one’s business (e.g. .pizza, .tech, .lawyer, .xxx) or geographical location (e.g. .us, .eu, .cn, .nyc, .berlin), there is no question that there are but a few with the recognition that extensions such as .com, .net, .biz or .org offer. During the process of choosing your trademark, you may want to check if the domain name is available.
To check the availability of domain names, the following sites may be of use:
Who.is Ξ Whois Identity for everyone Ξ Domain Tools
iGERENT offers trademark services in more than 180 countries. For further information contact us.
Author: Conrad Fahrenkrug Attorney-at-law @ iGERENT