Every business nowadays has an online presence. One of the best ways of establishing your presence is by choosing the domain name wisely. After all, your domain name represents your business and is the first thing your customers will see.
However, with an increasing number of companies vying for their own online space, domain name disputes have grown more common.
It is important to avoid these disputes as well as patent and trademark infringements as they can cost your business dearly. With that in mind, let’s find out more about domain name registration and how companies can avoid domain name disputes.
Importance of Domain Name Registration
A domain name is akin to an online address and is an integral part of a business’s identity. Here are a few reasons why domain name registration is a must for your business:
#1. Adds Credibility
A well-thought-out domain name can earn you the trust of your customers. They want to see a domain that matches your business’s name, something they can recognize at first glance. If they can do that, they’ll be able to associate your business with your website.
#2. Establishes Brand Identity
A strong domain name can help you stand out in the crowd. Your customers will have an easier time remembering your brand when they have something they can search and see anywhere, at any time, through their phone.
#3. Helps with SEO
A good domain name will include keywords related to your business. This can help enhance your search engine rankings, making you more visible to customers looking for products/services similar to yours.
#4. Safeguards Your Brand
Most importantly, domain name registration can help protect your brand from malicious competitors or cyber-squatters, who might try to use a similar name to mislead your customers.
Consequences of Getting Involved in a Domain Name Dispute
A domain name dispute happens when two or more parties stake claims over the same domain name. Such disputes can arise for various reasons, including cyber-squatting, trademark infringement, and bad faith registration. Regardless, the consequences of domain name disputes can be disastrous for your business. You could be looking at:
#1. Reputational Damage
As experienced domain name dispute lawyers, we’ve handled several cases where a domain name dispute led to a website being shut down and/or being assigned to a new owner. This can be highly disconcerting not just for your business but also your customers. As a result, your company’s reputation can be completely destroyed.
#2. Legal Action
Domain name disputes can force you or another party to take legal action, which means navigating a complex procedure. If a trademark holder believes that you’ve infringed their trademark, they can file a lawsuit against you, leading to penalties and fines.
#3. Loss of Revenue
Losing ownership of your domain name due to a dispute can mean losing out on online traffic and hence, revenue. Your customers may not be able to find your website, lowering your sales from new consumers, and driving away repeat consumers.
#4. Reclaiming Can Be Challenging
If your domain name has been assigned to another company, reclaiming it can be difficult and even lead to further legal action.
How to Avoid Domain Name Disputes
To avoid dealing with the consequences of domain name disputes, it’s best to try and avoid them in the first place.
#1. Do Your Homework
Before finalizing your domain name registration, it’s important to thoroughly research the one you’re interested in. This will help you ensure that you don’t end up infringing on any trademarks or copyrights.
You can start your research on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. If you find that a patent or trademark you’re considering already exists, avoid it for your domain name registration. Further, check for other domain names that look or sound similar to avoid confusion.
#2. Never Copy Other Companies
Copying or using another business’s trademark is illegal and is sure to cause legal issues. For instance, if you’re a business that sells sportswear, using a trademark name like adidas.com is unethical. Your business can be sued for this.
#3. Register Multiple Domain Names
Another great way to avoid domain name disputes is to register multiple domain names that are similar to your business’s brand. For example, if your primary domain name is “ABC.com,” your domain name registration strategy should include “ABC.org,” “ABC.co,” and “ABC.net” as well. This simple move will prevent your competitors from using similar names to confuse your customers.
#4. Ensure Timely Renewal
This step is critical to avoiding domain name disputes. If you fail to do so, your domain name will become available for registration by another business – most likely a competitor.
Moreover, cyber squatters intentionally wait for a domain name to expire so they can claim it and sell it back to the business for an exorbitant amount of money.
Businesses can handle a domain name dispute better when they’re ready with a powerful defense. This means having a legal team that’s experienced in dealing with such disputes and trademark infringements. Having a seasoned lawyer in your corner can go a long way in protecting you from domain name registration errors as well as the consequences of such disputes.
When to Hire a Domain Name Dispute Attorney
Domain name dispute lawyers are skilled at handling cases related to domain names. They provide legal representation and guidance to businesses involved in these disputes. It makes sense to hire a domain name dispute lawyer in the following circumstances.
If you think that your business’s trademark has been infringed upon by another company, you’ll need to take legal action before it’s too late. An attorney can study your case and help you determine if your claim carries weight and consequently sue the infringing party.
This refers to another business registering a domain name that is similar to your trademark name. They then try to sell it back to the business at a much higher price. A domain name dispute lawyer can help you take legal action against the cyber-squatter and recover your domain name.
#3. Bad Faith Registration
A domain name similar to your business may be registered by another party in bad faith. Your domain name dispute lawyer can help you stop this and reclaim your domain name.
When another party wrongfully tries to gain ownership of your domain name without your permission, it can be called domain name hijacking. A skilled lawyer can help you regain control over your domain name by pursuing legal action against them.
Contact Our Domain Name Dispute Attorney for Dependable Legal Services
At the end of the day, working with a proven domain name dispute lawyer will help you protect your online identity and rights. If you need legal help with protecting your domain names, trademarks, patents, copyrights, and other intellectual property, reach out to Emerson Thomson Bennett at 330-434-9999 or fill out our online form today.