We live in a digital age. Your website helps you connect with customers and distribute products in ways that we could have never imagined just a few decades ago. Because of this, protecting your website is just as important as protecting your business’s name.
But how exactly does your website play into intellectual property laws?
Your trademarks and domain name (the address that customers use to reach your website) are two separate entities. However, you must consider them together when you apply for trademarks and create a digital marketing strategy.
Start with Availability
Before you set up your website or apply for a trademark, make sure the name you want to protect is available in both places. Even though your business name is available as a trademark, it is still possible that the domain is taken online.
Conduct your research simultaneously. As you check for the availability of your domain, make sure you can get a trademark on your business name as well. If your name is not available in both places, you might want to reconsider the trademark.
Customers will assume that they can find your website by searching for your business name online. At the very least, you want to use your registered trademark name within your domain name. From an intellectual property standpoint, keeping your business name and domain name consistent will help you maintain the status of both.
Be thorough as you look to see what is available. A basic trademark search will not necessarily reveal whether a trademark has a registration already. It is very possible that another individual or business is using in commerce the words you have chosen as a trademark and they have not obtained a trademark registration. In addition, even though a website does not already exist at a domain, it may still be registered by someone else.
Secure Your Mark and Domain Name Quickly
After you determine your business name is available in both places, apply for a trademark registration and register the domain using as many Top Level Domains (TLD) as possible (for example .com, .net, .org). You will be able to secure your domain faster than you can secure a trademark registration but both are necessary to protect your name on and offline. An intellectual property attorney can help you throughout this process.