Warning: Your domain name could infringe on trademark rights!
If you have or are about to buy a domain name, YOU might be in trouble and don’t even know it yet …
See, what domain sellers won’t tell you is that the domain name you are purchasing or have purchased may possibly infringe on trademark rights and you may lose that domain name or even worse.
Trademark and service mark laws apply not only offline, but also online and even apply to domain names.
Now, a trademark generally applies to products, while a service mark applies to services. For the purposes of this article, I will refer to trademarks, as the same rules apply.
A trademark can be a word, name, symbol or device and is used to distinguish and identify the goods and services of one person or company from those of another.
The purpose of a mark is to avoid confusion in the eyes of the consumer regarding particular goods and services. Basically, they are in place to prevent unfair competition.
So with that being said, just because you’ve purchased a particular domain name doesn’t necessarily mean that you have exclusive rights to it.
If there is a trademark in your domain name, the trademark owner has the legal right to send you a “cease and desist” letter and possibly take away that domain name.
If you don’t believe a word I’ve said so far, I offer myself as proof because it happened to me. I recently lost one of my domain names under this same circumstance.
For legal reasons, I cannot tell you the domain name as I agreed not to make further references to it, but there were two words in my domain name that were associated with a trademark.
Now, I was not aware of this when I bought the domain name. And he was definitely not aware of the trademark laws.
Don’t be ignorant on the subject like me. You can avoid any potential problems by educating yourself and preventing the same from happening to you.
Don’t make the same mistake as me!
Do your research before buying a domain name and make sure there is NO trademark associated with that name.
There are trademark search engines where you can type in a word or phrase and they will tell you if it is a trademark.
You can visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website to conduct a trademark search:
Now, in my case, I decided not to fight the trademark dispute and gave up my domain name voluntarily. I felt like it wasn’t worth the time, money, and headaches to launch a fight over this.
If this happens to you, you have rights and there are adequate channels to resolve the dispute. Contact an attorney who specializes in this field.
And don’t think for a minute that this kind of thing can’t happen to you. Trust me. If you have a trademark on your domain name, it’s only a matter of time before you get that letter in the mail like I did.
There are numerous cases on the Internet related to disputes over trademarks and domain names.
Do not be one of them …
For more information on the subject of trademarks and domain names, I recommend that you visit this website:
This article and the links associated with it are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. As always, speak with an attorney who specializes in this field in the event of a dispute.