Domain names and trade marks: what’s the difference?

Domain name’s and trade marks are usually perceived as going hand in hand however they are entirely different. When considering the registration of the two, you could have difficulties in understanding the difference between the two and more importantly, not know which one needs to come first.

A domain name is an internet address e.g., www.lawdit.co.uk whereas a trade mark is any word, symbol or logo that is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.

Whilst it is important to secure a domain name that is identical to that of your trade mark, it may not always be possible. This is because cyber squatters tend to auction a sought out domain name directly to an individual who is interested at a price far beyond the cost of registration.  In this situation, it is recommended that you opt for a domain name that is highly similar to that of your proposed mark or, alternatively, acquire domain names with highly similar variations (e.g. .com/.co.uk/.net). Doing so could prevent other brands from potentially diluting or weakening the distinctiveness of your proposed mark.

If you are yet to register both, your first port of call should be to search whether the domain name/trade mark you wish to register is already out there. This could save on both time and expenses as you may find that either of the two is already registered. You can either carry out these prior searches through domain name databases and intellectual property offices yourself or better yet, have the experts at Lawdit do this for you.

Once you have confirmed that both the domain name and trade mark is available to use, we recommend you purchase both at the same time. Although registering a trade mark will take considerably longer than registering a domain name, securing the domain name before anyone else does will prevent the risk of someone else getting there first.

If you have any questions relating to this article or need some guidance on trade mark registration, contact us today where we would be happy to assist you!

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