Developing a Web Site – Checklist Included
Developing a Web site may require the negotiation of two agreements: a design agreement and
a host agreement. A design agreement focuses on the creation and design of content for the
site and the translation of that content into a viewable Web page. A host agreement concerns
the maintenance and operation of the Web site once the Web site is installed on a host server
computer. Drafting these agreements requires an understanding of the Internet and computers
and careful attention to the pertinent legal issues.
If a business intends to offer goods or services for sale through its Web site, the laws of each
state in which sales are anticipated should be reviewed for rules and restrictions on online
transactions. Many states have enacted specific legislation to protect consumers who purchase
goods and services online. Violation of these statutes may result in imprisonment or fines.
Domain names infringe the trademark or trade name of another business if there is a likelihood
of confusion, mistake, or deception in the relevant market. Even if there are no confusion,
mistake, or deception present, a domain name may still be actionable under the Federal
Trademark Dilution Act of 1995. The Trademark Dilution Act provides the owner of a famous
mark with a cause of action for dilution of the distinctiveness of the mark, even if the use is not
likely to cause consumer confusion. To minimize the possibility of an infringement action,
federal and state trademark searches should be performed for all potential domain names.
Once a domain name is chosen, the name should be registered as a trademark or service mark
with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”). Domain names may be registered