The Internet Domain Names have now become much more than mere representing the websites of different companies on the Internet. Today, in this age of well-developed information technology and worldwide businesses through Internet, these domain names have attained the status of being business identifiers and promoters. Since the commercial activities on the Internet are to go on increasing day by day, the importance and usefulness of domain names too, are to be enhanced for the purposes of greater publicity, popularity, and profitability of businesses in all economic sectors. According to Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, “Domains have and will continue to go up in value faster than any other commodity ever known to man”. Broadly, the functions of domain names are now quite similar to the functions of a trademark or service mark, for these purposes. Ours this very informative web-article offers rich and hugely beneficial and securing information regarding the registration and protection of the domain names as trademarks, with a view to help and serve people, companies, and professions pertaining to diverse occupational and economic fields.
Domain names are written representation of an internet address. Hence, it is common for businesses involved in ecommerce to spend significant amount of money for the building of brand name around a domain name. Such businesses or those wishing to trademark a domain name can apply for the same by filling a trademark application as a wordmark. And, it is permisssible under the Trademark Act to allow for a domain name to be trademarked. However, just because a domain is registered does not make the mark eligible for trademark registration. The key test applied by the Trademark Examiner would be whether the wordmark proposed would be liable for registration, not simply, not simply as a domain name.
While processing of the application, the Trademark Registrar would still subject the application to usual criteria and test for registration of trademark. The elements of domain name included as part of the application would be not considered and only the reminder or the distinct part of the mark is considered.
What Names Can Be Registered?
Not all domain names can be registered as trademarks. The USPTO is particular about what can be registered as a domain name. For example, you will have a problem registering a generic name like drugs.com as a trademark. And you’d face an uphill struggle to register a domain name that you use solely as an address and not a signifier of services. For example, the law firm of Smith & Jones would have a hard time registering smith&jones.com as a trademark. It would have to prove that the domain is being used for some other purpose than for people to find and contact the law firm.
If an application is made for the registration of snapdeal.com or snapdeal.in, the trademark examiner would not consider domain elements like .com or .in and would only consider the word “snapdeal”. If that word passes the normal test for objection like similar or identical trademark exists or other reasons, then the mark is cleared for publising in the Trademark Journal.
Further, in some cases, even words that are not eligible for registration as a word mark may be eligible for registratoin as a domain name, as there is no space in between the words and the addition of .com gives a character to the mark. For example, Fast Forward may not be eligible for trademark registration, but fastforward.com could be eligible for registration.