When you create the domain for your website, you likely don’t think too much about the possibility of an infringed trademark. But you should.  While most sites that sell domain names have an option where you can determine if a URL you want is already in use, these tools do not address intellectual property concerns that can occur. At Initiating Protection, we help brand owners learn what is and isn’t permitted when creating a domain. This helps prevent potential domain name infringement. In addition, we can help companies prosecute third parties using domain names in an abusive manner and transfer those URLs.

What is Domain Name Infringement?

From a general standpoint, domain name infringement occurs when a company or individual uses a domain that includes words protected by a trademark. While there are numerous factors that go into potential infringement, there are three key elements that determine if it occurs. First, if a person has previous rights granted by the trademark whether through registration or continual use. Second, if the URL in question is for commercial use. Finally, if the domain can lead to confusion.

How To Avoid Issues

Domain name infringement can lead to numerous problems once it occurs. Fortunately, there are a number of proactive steps you can take to prevent it from happening. One of the easiest steps is to search as many active domains as possible. By doing so, you can look for potential trademark conflicts and create a unique name that won’t present the risk of legal trouble. You can look for conflicts by going to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. This database provides you with all currently registered trademarks as well as those that are pending. You can also look at business name registers as well.

Legal Options

When situations arise that lead to disputes over a domain, the parties involved may decide to take the issue to court or an arbitration board. When this happens, any company that brings legal action must present arguments over why a domain name should be canceled or transferred. Trademark owners can challenge an existing domain either using the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy or the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. To win, the primary fact a trademark owner needs to show is they own the trademark that is similar to the domain in question. In addition, they must show that the party that registered the domain has no legitimate interest in it and that the URL was registered in bad faith.

Contact Us for Domain Name Services

The last thing you want from your domain name is to have it experience trademark issues. Initiating Protection can help you look for anything that can lead to trademark problems and ensure your domain is secure. Call or e-mail us today to learn more about our solutions and how we can help you.