17.Checking domain names and trademarks by liaoxiuli


									 Checking domain names and trademarks

Key Action Points

    1. Domain names can be searched instantly for availability, and are usually bought on a
        first-come, first-served basis
    2. Trademarks can be searched quickly for availability, but are much more complex than
        domain names because they can include many non-verbal elements of your brand
        identity ?colours/shapes/sounds ?and are registered by category by country. Therefore,
        a quick search would usually have to be followed up by detailed research

In more detail.....

Domain names

    1. domain names work on a first-come, first-served basis. If it is available, you can buy it,
        at least for U.S. (.com, .org., .net, .pro, .biz etc.) and UK (.co.uk) domain names. Other
        countries have different rules, some of which limit you to registering a maximum of so
        many domain names per company. The main exception to this rule is if you are cyber
        squatting? where your only purpose for registering the name is to hold the
        brand/trademark owner of that name to ransom. In this case, you can be evicted by the
        courts, and the domain name offered back to the rightful brand/trademark owner
    2. US, UK and other globally orientated domain names take seconds to check


    1. trademarks are more complex. They are registered by category by country ?so different
        companies can register the same trademark in different categories. You are more likely
        to obtain the registration and retain the ownership of your trademark if you have chosen
        either a made up/coined name (e.g. Xerox, Kodak etc.) or out-of-context name (e.g.
        Amazon, Smile, Apple etc.). A trademark that is suggestive of the activity can also work
        (e.g. Oddbins, RayBan etc.), but descriptive names will be difficult, although there are
        examples (e.g. British Airways, MicroSoft etc.). The problem with descriptive names is
        that a competitor can claim prior use
2. trademarks will typically cost $2,000+ to register per category per country, including the
    research fees to ensure that the trademark is available, $500+ per category per country
    to re-register every 10 years, $10,000+ per trademark to track for infringements
    (although this is sometimes offered as a free service by companies who are regularly
    registering trademarks on your behalf), and $1,000,000+ to defend if it goes to
    contested litigation
3. initial searches of verbal trademarks can be run for free on the Internet. However, you
    will then have to pay for a more detailed research prior to registration to ensure that
    there are no unintentional meanings attached to the trademark, or more complex
    infringements.   Each    element    of   a   brand   identity   can   be   trademarked     -
    colours/sounds/shapes/slogans, individually or in combination. You may also wish to
    register your trademark in different scripts, e.g. Cyrillic, Farsi, Ideograms. It is usually
    best to make up 20-50 names, because only 2-3 will be usable globally
4. you do not need to register your name but, if you choose not to, you may find yourself
    infringing someone else’ trademark, or someone else may seek to register your name
    as a trademark and, if they succeed, you will then have to cease and desist in using
    your name in countries of first registration (where the first person to register the
    trademark owns it)

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