Thanks to modern technology and a plethora of âDummies Guide toâ¦â? books, almost anyone can set up their own website with relative ease. While user-friendly software makes the process of setting up a website seems quite simple, one aspect which may not be so simple to accomplish is selecting a domain name.
The quest for the perfect domain name which will allow you to sum up your business in just a few simple catchy letters is typically your first step. Unfortunately, if you choose a domain name that conflicts with one of the millions of other commercial names that already exist, you may run into trademark issues that can end in significant legal costs to you.
The best way to choose a domain name that satisfies your needs while not infringing on any possible trademarks is to search as many existing trademark databases as possible. Start at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (www.uspto.gov), the Thomas Register Online (www.thomasregister.com), and then search the Internet in general.
If your search turns up a similar name to your proposed name, ask yourself these questions:
(1) Are you offering goods and services that will compete with the goods and services being sold under the other name?
(2) Are you offering goods and services that will be distributed through the same channels as the goods and services being sold under the similar name?
(3) Could your website ultimately divert business from the other site with a similar name?
(4) Is the other name well known?
If you can answer ânoâ?, to all of these questions, you can feel relatively confident that your domain name will not create a possible trademark infringement issue. If you answer âyesâ?, you may need to brace yourself for a possible legal challenge from the other business down the road. If all else fails, consult an attorney specializating in trademark law.
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