Why trademarking your domain name in India is a must for online-only businesses and service providers?

New Business Trends

Going online or taking your business online is the new mantra adapted by a number of business entities for several reasons.  The name of your business is an integral link to your customers or clients and that they use your brand name or domain name to locate your website through searches or link to your website.  This applies to your existing customers and prospective customers.  Lot of businesses provide specific services through online which vary from providing storage space to placing orders.

Trademark your domain name in India

Trademark your domain name in India

Do you really need to obtain trademark of your domain?

The main objective of trademarking a domain name is to provide you with legal recourse against any other person or entity who decides to register a similar domain name for the purpose of eluding your customers.  For example, a person trying to register amazonsales.com could probably be sued for infringing on Amazon’s trademarked domain name.

Your website acts as a vital link between you and your online customers.  When potential or existing customers try to find you on the web, they would either type in the name of your business to check if that is your registered domain, or they will search your business name in a search engine.  Either method could lead to unscrupulous sites whose purpose is to hijack your business. Trademarking your domain name can quell this possibility.

Online businesses should trademark their domain names

Online businesses should trademark their domain names

Sometimes, your domain name which can be your business name, for example, “www.domainname.com”, and the keyword “domainname” can be used by your competitors or other person to lure your customers by displaying ads through search engines when your customers type your business name.

A famous case between Bharatmatrimony and Google on trademark infringement can be read here: Bharatmatrimony Vs Google

If you trademark your domain name, you essentially purchase legal recourse should anyone try this tactic on your business. If you find a website whose domain name is very similar to yours and who offers the same kinds of products or services, you could easily take the owners of that domain name to court for punitive damages.

Whether all domain names can be trademarked?  NO

In order to register an Internet domain name, an applicant must show that he offers services via the Internet. Further, specimens submitted in support of the application must show use of the Internet domain name as an identifier of the source of the goods and services. The use of an Internet domain name merely as a directional reference, similar to the use of a telephone number or business address is used on stationery, business cards, or advertisements, is not use of the name as a source identifier.

If you are not an Internet Service Provider or a Telecommunications company then you are a “content” provider who furnishes information via the Internet, i.e., offers the service of providing information. In such cases, the service offered is an information service classifiable according to the information, e.g., a service that offers business information is classified in Class 35, a service that offers financial information is classified in Class 36, and a service that offers building construction, repair or maintenance information is classified in Class 37.

However, all “content” providers do not offer registerable services vis-a-vis an Internet domain name. For example, Internet domain name locations that simply contain advertisements or other information normally expected or routine in promoting an entity’s goods or services are not registerable services. Therefore, Internet domain names must meet the same requirements for registration as all trademarks and service marks. If a domain name does meet these requirements, it will be registered.

Benefits of trademarking your domain name?

Trademarking your domain name certainly can benefit the businesses in several ways as given below.

  1. You don’t register alternate extensions of your domain name.  For example, the website domainname.com might also register domainname.net or domainname.com.

    Why should you buy alternative domain names or extensions

    Why should you buy alternative domain names or extensions

  2. Trademark a domain can be cheaper than purchase and maintain a lot of domain extensions.
  3. Gets you the right to have legal recourse against your competitors.
  4. Differentiate your services legally among the billions of online businesses.

Who must trademark their domain name?

  1. Online service providers
  2. E-commerce websites
  3. Online-only businesses
  4. The one-and-only-kind innovative online start-ups.

Tell me now what I need to do?

Call us for a preliminary consultation right away on how to trademark your domain name in India or write to us at legal@sevenelementz.com

References:  http://www.arvic.com/library/domanuse.asp
Pictures:  Google Images
All trademarks and logos used in this article are proprietary trademarks of respective trademark owners