Nassau County Economic Development Board

Infringement of Domain Name – A Risk You Best Avoid

Choosing a domain name may seem simple and interesting but has much more details, which need a check. It is a step to enhance business ideas, a platform to start new ventures and initiatives and hence need utmost attention. So, one cannot really afford to take any risk while selecting a domain name. The risk is to have a name that might be exactly similar to another already existing one. It all begins with trademarks, which is how one can identify from where the products and services originate. Law protest these trademarks. Conflict arises when two similar trademarks cause rise of confusion among the customers. Therefore, when the conflict takes legal form, the later one has to seize using the mark. Customer confusion might bring you loss: With similar domain names, products and services, your potential customers might end up at the other website and buy the items, which they believe is your product.

Or this could happen vice versa, which would bring loss to the other party, and trigger the conflict. The owner has a legal right to stop the new website and may demand huge ransom. Starting new enterprise with such risk would mean all the invested money and hard work could go right to the bin. To avoid such circumstances and damages, you should take up certain steps, examine few matters before finalizing and buying domain names.

  • Research is what you need to do with the use of internet. You could start by typing your domain and searching it in different engines. If you find any other business using that particular or familiar name, or products with such name then go through it carefully. Continue your research with looking for the domain name in whois.net and other databases to get information.
  • Go through the existing trademarks, the pending ones and the expired ones. If you find business with similar trademark or products with such name then examine their website. If there were a risk then the best would be to look for a new domain name.

However, if you stick to your selected domain name, consider these points before registering it:

  1. Are your products and services good enough to win the customers over other enterprise?
  2. How strong is your competitor? How can that affect your business?
  3. What happens when even your customers end up buying goods from your competitor’s site?
  4. Are you ready to take the plunge where as you can modify the domain name and play a safe game?

If you are sure then you may go ahead, however, when unsure, it is best to look for new domain name. It is true that one cannot do business without taking risks, but when you can avoid some of these, do take those necessary steps then. Follow these guidelines and when needed can consult a trademark lawyer. Once having your own original trademark, you had better keep eye on those who might want rights over it. Businesses through internet require trademark lawyers to fight such situations.