Did you know that, as in the physical world, your business can also have an ‘address’ in the online world? In IP jargon, the key component of this online address is called “domain name” (i.e. the word/s after the famous “www.” and before the extension .com, .org, .countrycode, etc.). The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN"), a global body, is basically responsible for the technical management of the domain name system.
Having a domain name is not mandatory, but … definitely, very advisable. Domain names become the identity of your business online. Generally, as a first step, anyone trying to locate you online will enter the name of your company or the name of your product/s or service/s in a search engine in the hope that such name/s correspond to your domain name. But how can you register a domain name? What name should you use to represent your business identity in an original and valid way? What if someone else starts using your domain name or a similar one by tweaking yours? Here are the answers to these very legitimate queries:
Selecting a domain name for your business
- While it might seem an easy task to select a domain name, one needs to be slightly cautious while zeroing in on a particular name. After all, this name will represent you to the world. You can start the process of selecting a domain name even before the registration of your company, and of your trademarks.
- A domain name can be any combination of letters and/or numbers. One has an option of combining these names/numbers with various extensions, such as one of the two-letter country codes, or .com, .org, .net, etc. Thus, you are free to choose any name, number or any combination as your identity on the internet.
- Depending on your choice, you may pick a common name or a distinctive and perhaps invented name. Remember, however, that if you wish to have your domain name correspond to your trademark, then you better go for a distinctive domain name, as generic terms in most cases cannot be registered as a trademark.
- While finalizing the selection of your new domain name, you must check that it is not a trademark already in use by someone else.
How to register a Domain Name?
- Registration of a domain name is a fairly fast and easy task. There are many domain name registrars who provide services for registration of domain names. You can easily locate these domain name registrars online. Perhaps choose one in your country or your region.
- Generally, a domain name is registered for a specific time period, after which you will have to renew it by paying renewal fees.
For information about how to protect your trademark from someone using it as domain name, please refer to the Handbook on IP Commercialisation, Section E.1. , and visit WIPO website at: https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/.
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