Legal AdviceTrademarks

Do I Need to Check the Trademarks Registry Before Buying a Domain?

It is always prudent to check the registry of trademarks before you go ahead and purchase a domain name. If your business clicks and you start making substantial profits, then you can face copyright violation lawsuits

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Trademarks Registry: A trademark helps companies establish their brand identity and prevents others from using that identity for their own benefit. Applying for trademark registration is an integral step for all companies to ensure that this doesn’t happen. However, the process of registration may be quite tricky as there are several things business owners need to consider. 

A trademark is a distinctive identification that defines your company, product, or service from the competition. Your company’s intellectual property is a registered trademark. It safeguards the time and effort you put into earning your customers’ confidence and loyalty. A company’s trademark registration is crucial and necessary because it highlights your unique identity and helps in the development of customer trust and loyalty. It also provides legal protection for your brand’s identity and protects it from unlawful use.

Checking the Trademarks Registry Before Buying a Domain

Intellectual property is a critical component of economic growth. A country’s ability to secure ownership of its businesses’ products and processes ensures not only higher local income, but also enhanced international recognition and sales. This emphasises the importance of trademark ownership over product promotion and identification.

What’s more crucial is understanding the basics in order to prevent costly legal disputes over intellectual property protection. In this post, we’ll go over some of the key characteristics of trademarks that businesses should be aware of and use in their trademark development and filing processes.

Before trademarking your product or tagline, remember the following things:

Ensure That Your Trademark Is Protected at All Times:

Shape, colour combination and packaging may be protected as trademarks – This includes examples such as Coca Cola registering its distinctive shape of bottles in a 3D form, such that all other soft drinks cannot use the shape of Coca Cola bottles. However, Cadbury lost a legal battle while protecting the distinctive purple coloured wrappers of its signature chocolate.

Register Your Tagline as a Trademark:

It’s not a trademark; it’s a tagline; why bother trademarking it? Mr. or Ms. Entrepreneur, consider this: if you have a wonderful tagline, wouldn’t you want to protect it? Many products and services rely on taglines, which have become practically iconic.

Establish a Link:

It should be capable of projecting the connection of a person/group of persons with the manufacture of the goods or provision of services – Parle G has acquired distinctiveness for its globally renowned biscuits.

In a legal battle in 1972, the court held that a wrapper of another biscuit applying the same colour scheme would be considered deceptive. For this, the court placed the two wrappers side by side and realised that it would be misleading for a person usually dealing with one to accept the other if offered to him. 

Thus, it is advisable to choose distinctive marks, from very early on in the business to secure rights arising out of long use. It is also important to run a trademark search and avoid any possible similarities with an already registered trademark. 


Checking Trademarks Registry

It is always prudent to check the registry of trademarks before you go ahead and purchase a domain name. If your business clicks and you start making substantial profits, then you can face copyright violation lawsuits in the future if a similar trademark is owned by some other company.

With the brand as important as it is today, you need to consider what impact any decision has on it. If you’re keen on a particular domain, it’s probable that you want it to be your brand name. This means that you will want it to be trademarked, at least once it gains traction. This means that, yes, it would be better to check the trademarks registry before buying the domain, although it is unlikely that the domain name for a trademarked brand would still be available.

What If It’s Taken in the Trademark Registry?

If the domain you’re interested in has already been trademarked, you could still use it. This is because the trademark will only apply to certain sectors (known as classes). Therefore, let’s say you are considering a domain name ‘XYZ’, but there already exists a trademark in the name of ‘XYZ Lighting’. If you’re not in the lighting business, it’s likely that you could still trademark the name. This is because trademarks are segregated into 45 classes. Each type is representative of an industry.

Must a Domain be Trademarked?

No, domains are usually not trademarked, as you already have ownership rights over it. Instead, you should plan a trademark registration, so your consumers can identify you. Be it the logo, brand name or slogan. You can go through the entire trademark registry to find out how brands tend to protect their IP.

You must also understand that you do not need to get your domain name trademarked at any point of time. But opting for trademark rights over your products is essential if you do not use unethical elements to take advantage in the times to come. You must plan out this process with a lot of prudence.


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