Although most potential domain owners don’t know about trademarked domain names, it’s actually real, and infringement on a trademark law could result in far-reaching repercussions. A trademark, essentially, is a unique name that legally recognizes your business, including its products and services. The law allows you to use your domain name as your trademark if you intend to use it to buy and sell products and services or if you make the relevant authorities aware of your intention. Trademarking your domain name prevents competitors from using your domain name as the name of their businesses. That’s said, here are 3 key steps to trademark your domain name:
Perform a trademark search before you buy a domain name
Before registering your domain name, perform a trademark research to ensure that no trademarked name resembles your chosen name. You can conduct your trademark search on IGERENT website if you’re located in the United Kingdom and Europe or U.S. Patent and Patent Trademark Office website if you’re located in the United States. This process is necessary before registering a domain name, as registrars are not obligated to verify trademark issues with domain names. So buying a domain from a registrar successfully does not imply that it’s free of trademark issues. Note that if you register a domain name that has trademark conflicts, you run the risk of losing rights to it if the owner initiates a laws suit against you.
It is also important for you to take a look at your domain availability since it might be already taken, but don’t worry there are different tools to check it’s availability, for instance Shopify has a great domains browser that can help you with this, and if it is so, it can give you more ideas on how to create your own domain name.
You’ll be required to complete an application form when applying for domain trademark after you buy a domain name
Domain trademark application forms are available for those who already own a domain name; those who want to register a domain name and those who have registered their domain names outside the country. These forms are available in respective trademark offices in your country. You can fill out this document online through their website, or visit their physical offices. Before filling out the form, ascertain that it’s the right one. After completing the form, you can send it back online. The application form should be accompanied by the illustration of the trademark on a different paper. You’ll also be required to pay the filing fee. On top of all that, you’ll be required to supply samples of each category of products that you’re selling if you’re applying for a trademark and your business is already in operation. Approximately 4 months after submission of the application, the relevant trademark body would review your document and determined if it made it through the trademark registration or not.