How to protect your trademark and domain name?

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You are now a business owner.

Congrats!

Now it’s time to protect your trademark and domain name to ensure the necessary security to launch into business.

Your trademark and domain name are two elements that enable a customer to identify a product or service of a company. To avoid trouble related to competitors, protect your trademark and domain name. Contrary to your domain name, your trademark is an intellectual property right. SiteW shows you how to protect them effectively and enhance your trademark.

Deal with both at the same time to avoid disappointments: for example, if the domain name related to the protected trademark is no more available. Therefore, when you create a professional website, register a trademark and book its domain name. Let’s discover the different steps to follow.

Why and how to register your trademark?

Registering your trademark is essential for your business.

Here are the reasons why you should register your trademark…

Why should you register your trademark?

When you launch into business, first, register your trademark. This name enables you to be the legal owner of your store, and it won’t be copied.

Except the intellectual property and the guarantee that your trademark really belongs to you, you enjoy other advantages:

  • Become more credible in your business sector

A registered trademark in a file with thousands of registered trademarks offers you credibility. Moreover, this shows your future collaborators, backers, and customers you are serious, and you want to develop. In this way, you’ll enhance your brand.

  • Highlight your work

It gives identity to your work and valorizes it. Your customers don’t buy a product or service that looks like a competing trademark, but they purchase your trademark, your graphic charter, your identity.

  • Launch into business safely

It’s a kind of safety net before starting the creation of your trademark, especially facing competition. It’s possible that you thought about a revolutionary brand that already exists.

Registering a trademark enables you to have a head start on other business owner.

  • Start an internationalization process more easily

If you register your trademark, you’ll enjoy an identity and stature in your business sector, and it’ll be easier to develop your business internationally.

protect trademark and domain name

Therefore, it’s essential to register your trademark when you launch into business. Here are 3 steps to follow:

Step 1: Define your trademark category  

There are some specific steps to register a trademark. First, remember that trademark protection is specific to some categories (also called “classes”). According to the National Institute of Intellectual Property, choose the classes where your trademark will be protected. Each category corresponds to a type of business.

But how does the Nice Classification system work?

You need to pay €210 to register a trademark in 1,2 or 3 categories. Depending on your business, this protection may be insufficient and won’t include all your business sectors. Your business may become vulnerable facing your competitors. Therefore, you can protect this trademark in other categories: you’ll have to pay €42 for an additional category. You will need to make an advanced search to protect the trademark in the relevant categories.

Here are examples of classes:

  • Class 35: advertising, business management, business administration, office functions

  • Class 34: tobacco

  • Class 43: services for providing food and drink, temporary accommodation

  • Class 44: agriculture, horticulture and forestry services, medical services, veterinary services

Therefore, look for further information about each class to ensure that your business corresponds and is protected at the most by the National Institute of Intellectual Property certificate. If you have any doubts, you can visit the website for more information about classes.

Step 2: Search availability

On the website of the National Institute of Intellectual Property, search if the trademark is available. In this way, you will know if a competitor already uses it. If so, it means that they have a prior right, and you can’t register this trademark.

The National Institute of Intellectual Property can also suggest similar trademarks. You don’t know if a business has the same trademark, but you know if other businesses in your sector use trademarks that look like yours. In this way, you won’t put yourself in a difficult position involuntarily.

Moreover, the National Institute of Intellectual Property enables you to protect your logo and visual identity to enjoy the full ownership of each identifiable item of your trademark.

Step 3: Follow the registration process

What is the registration process?

Once the National Institute of Intellectual Property has received your request for registration made online, you receive an email. You can also make a request by letter. After the analysis of your file, the registration is published in the Industrial Property Official Bulletin.

The trademark protects all over the national territory for 10 years, and it’s renewable endlessly. If a competitor uses this trademark, you can take them to court and condemn for counterfeit. 

Watch out
Info warning
For European or international protection, ask the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

You can ask for international protection directly on the WIPO website. Therefore, ensure your trademark is available in the target countries.

Now your brand is protected. Stack all the odds in your favour to improve it and keep up to date with the latest trends and web statistics.

Now let’s move on to the domain name, which is the second different and identifiable element of your company!

Why and how to book a domain name?

Contrary to your trademark, your domain name isn’t an intellectual property right.

In concrete terms, it’s the URL of your professional website that ends up in .en, .ca, .com… The URL enables users to accede to your website and is very useful for businesses that sell online or want to promote a website in the world.

But now we’ll talk about booking, not protection: if someone else uses the domain name, this will be considered as unfair competition. Ensure your domain name doesn’t correspond to a trademark that already exists. This may lose users.

If you manage an online business, protect a domain name by registering your trademark to the National Institute of Intellectual Property. In that case, choose the classes of the products or services sold on your business website. Therefore, the domain name will enjoy legal protection contrary to a basic domain name registration. Moreover, if your domain name looks like a trademark already booked, the owner of this trademark may take you to court for counterfeit.

However, if you want to create a showcase website for your business, you can book a domain name without going through the National Institute of Intellectual Property to become the owner of a URL.

Register your trademark in advance if you wish to carry out two procedures to ensure that your trademark doesn’t already exist. In which case, it’s easier to find a new available domain name.

But how to book your domain name?

trademark and domain name

Step 1: Choose your register        

A register is a website that enables you to book domain names. The most famous services to book a domain name are OVH and 1&1, but you can choose your website builder. Most website builders indeed enable you to book a domain name.

Additional information
Info stepup
SiteW includes a domain name in your monthly or yearly package.

Step 2: Choose your domain name and extension

Then choose your domain name and extension.

Here are basic principles to respect for an optimized and conform domain name:

  • Forget special characters

Special characters are in the form of codes in your website URL.

For example, & will be &#38. If your trademark is Business&co and if you add & to your domain name, your trademark will be Business&#38co.

It’s not so meaningful, is it?

  • Use hyphens

If your domain name has several words, you can separate them with hyphens. Try to avoid points to not disturb reading with your extension if possible.

You can also put the words of your domain name together if it remains legible for users.

  • Add an element to your domain name

If you want to differentiate your trademark from your website, it’s possible to add an element to your domain name.

For example, business&co.com may be online-business.com, international-business.com…

In this way, the domain name won’t be bought by a third party. Therefore, ensure that the domain name is available in your registrar o you can’t ask for the purchase of the domain name if it’s inactive.

More than 250 000 domain names are bought online each year and just some of them are used after. It’ll be possible to ask for the recovery of the domain name.

Moreover, you can play with the extension of the domain name to find an available domain name. However, remember that the extension .com is the most famous and serious extension. Annual prices may vary depending on your extension. You’ll choose the extension that suits you best.

Step 3: Confirm your payment

You just need to confirm your payment. Annual prices go from cents to euros and will enable you to have this domain name until you decide otherwise.

The payment process of SiteW is totally secure and enables you to enjoy your domain name immediately when you create a professional website.

As mentioned above, booking a domain name at your register is easy, dematerialized, and accessible to all. However, the domain name you have booked doesn’t ensure the protection of your intellectual property, products, or services.

That’s why it’s essential to check if the brand is available on the website of the National Institute of Intellectual Property to protect your intellectual property. You’ll also enjoy more credibility, security, and stature in your business sector.

Think about protecting you!

Book a domain name  

Anaïs Sautarel
Translator
We can talk in English o en español! I am passionate about languages, and I see to make our contents and tool available in English-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries.

Last update: May 17, 2022

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