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Domain Name Infringement

Intellectual Property Insights

Trademarks serve to distinguish companies, goods, and services from competitors, and domain names provide unique identification on the Internet. With millions of companies competing for the attention of online users, every step taken in protecting and distinguishing a company’s products or services from others in the online world, counts.

How can a domain name qualify for trade mark status if it doesn’t have a specific and distinguishable design, colour, or shape?
The uniqueness of the domain name lies in the fact that only one entity can have the right to a specific domain name. If svw.co.za for example is already allocated, another company cannot also register a svw.co.za. Since companies compete for domain names as the first tool in online branding, the value of domain names rises.

How to select a domain name without infringing on the rights of another?
The first step is to conduct a domain name search via the Internet. The next step is to apply for registration. Fortunately if a name is already taken, your request will not be approved, thus protecting you against infringement. Although it seems simple enough, you can still infringe on a trade mark domain when your name is not easily distinguishable from the competitor in the same industry and causes users to become confused.

How to register a domain name as a trademark?

If the domain name complies with all the regulations required, it can be registered through an application at the relevant authorities. The application form should be completed in the correct format and handed in. Registration and annual renewal fees are applicable. Contact us to help you in registering your domain as a trade mark. Read more about our Business Start-Up Package.

Posted on 17 February 2016
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