Seattle Web Design
Blog > Should You Trademark Your Domain Name?

Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.

 


Should You Trademark Your Domain Name?

April 13th, 2009

I had a prospective client ask me the following question: “Should I trademark my domain name?”. I had no idea. But I knew who to ask: my local Seattle trademark attorney, Jefferson Coulter.

My question to Jefferson was regarding when and why a small business owner might want to trademark their domain name. Here was his answer:

It really depends on the domain name. What you really want are domain names that match your trademarks.

Usually, if you have a trademark (Alderbaran Web Design), you want to also own the domain name the matches it (AlderbaranWebDesign.com). This is a good thing when selling your business or if you are just creating a consistent brand message. It also allows you to prevent Cybersquatting and other ills of the digital world.

I recommend to people that they make sure they can get a matching domain name for their product, service or business name BEFORE they decide on what to call themselves (or their products or services.)

If you have a trademark registration, then you can prevent anyone from offering competing goods or services thru a website with a similar name. So, if you obtain a trademark registration for “Green Gopher” for a sustainability search engine and someone else pops up offering a search engine at www.1greengopher.com, you can use a quick (1-3 month) administrative process through the World Intellectual Property Organization to force the domain name to be transferred to you. Or you can sue them in Federal court (much more costly and time consuming.)

I very much appreciate Jefferson letting me post his response on my blog. If you’re in need of a trademark attorney in Seattle, give Jefferson Coulter a call. He’s done work for me, and my partner’s business, and his work is excellent. Thanks Jefferson for helping to answer this prospective client’s question!

Jill
--------------
J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.



2 Responses to “Should You Trademark Your Domain Name?”

  1. Luis Pereira Says:

    Dear Jill, at this time we are dealing with a client here in http://www.dyncr.com, asking us the same question, this is a real small world. just to add more information, in Costa Rica, the websites cannot be registered at the National Register of Copyright and Related Rights, located in the National Registry as we registered musical works, literary works, paintings, drawings, photographs, designs, publishers, and newspapers printed; translations; for submitting authors pseudonyms, phonogram; of radio and television; other works, of publishing contracts, contracts of representation, and other contracts relating to intellectual property. Normally, is not allowed to register the format page of the website designed because this office has considered that all looks similar (maybe some better than other or prettier) and that the possibility to have it registered as an innovation is exceptional.

  2. Jill Olkoski Says:

    Hi Luis,
    Thanks very much for adding your expertise to this article. So depending on where the business is, it’s a good idea to consult with a trademark attorney familiar laws so that you can get the best protection possible for that region. It’s interesting that the look of a website can not be (or is usually not allowed) to be registered as a trademark in Costa Rica. I wonder what the law is in the US.

    Thanks again for joining the conversation!



 ©2006 - © Aldebaran Web Design Seattle, A DBA of Aldebaran Services LLC
Blog Email Subscription:
Search Blog Articles: