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Internet Domain Names and Trademarks

Internet Domain Names and Trademarks

The digitalisation of businesses has made online presence vital for your firm’s growth and success. Internet domain name is the address of your business website. In times where all small and large businesses are shifting online, your internet domain name qualifies as a valuable asset, demanding legal protection. To survive competition on the digital medium, safeguarding your internet domain name will prove beneficial. It provides you with exclusive rights over the domain name and acts as a tool to keep competition at bay. Registration with the  Canadian Internet Registration Authority  (CIRA) and the  Canadian Intellectual Property Office  (CIPO) are both essential forms of legal protection.

Registration with CIRA and CIPO

Registering your domain name with CIRA is the first step to safeguarding it. It begins with choosing a unique domain name that the public will not confuse with another website. Give a considerable amount of thought in choosing a domain name. If your business is established enough, your brand name is your best option. However, ensure it is not already taken. A good domain name is unique, short, and easy to remember. The next step involves determining a domain extension. Extensions are a combination of a word and symbol that follow your domain name, for instance, .ca, .com, etc. There are two type of domain extensions- a generic top-level domain such as .com, .info, and .net or a country code top-level domain such as .ca. Country code top-level domain extensions correspond a country’s name. In Canada, the .ca extension is reserved for Canadian resident individuals and businesses. Once you are done with this, you may either register your domain name directly with CIRA or through private registrars. Although dispute resolutions are available in the case of infringement, it is recommended to get a trademark registration.

A domain name qualifies as an intellectual property for your business. Trademark registration offers a monopoly over your domain name preventing competitors from using the same or even a similar name. Trademark registration eliminates chances of infringement, giving you a competitive edge, especially if you seek to enter new markets. Registering for an internet domain name is no different from registering your brand name. Steps to get a trademark registration include:

  • A  preliminary search of existing trademarks  to ensure you are not infringing and have a unique domain name.

  • Filing an application is the next step. Ensure that you provide the necessary information in the way as required by the Trademark Office. A  trademark agent  can help you file the application in compliance with laws.

  • After the application is filed, the examiners will evaluate it. Once it is cleared, it will be published in the  Trade-marks Journal  and oppositions if any will have to be dealt with.

  • If there are no oppositions or the judgment is passed in your favour, you will be granted allowance and trademark registration of your internet domain name.

By getting a trademark registration along with the general one, you secure a competitive advantage in the digital medium. Laws governing trademark and the digital medium are generally confusing. Before banking upon a domain name, it is vital to  consult a trademark agent. While you may do your research, their knowledge and expertise will prevent chances of infringement disputes. Likewise, when filing for trademark registration, an attorney’s guidance will increase the chances of registration.

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