Does my business need a trademark for my website domain name?

Jun 27, 2018 | Business Tips

Kevin Fouche

Does my business need a trademark for my website domain name?

Posted by Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish Director

Kevin handles the planning, design, launch and training of every website that Pixel Fish creates. He ensures that every website is highly engaging and aligned with our client’s goals. With over 20 years of design and web industry experience to draw upon, Kevin aims to pass on his knowledge to our clients and like-minded businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

When planning the online branding strategy for your business, you will need to consider trademarks and how they can protect your brand. For many business owners, finding the right domain name is their only and immediate concern. It is worth investing the time to confirm your domain name is protectable so that your brand retains its true value. So,. Does my business need a trademark for my website domain name?

Registering a domain name does not give you exclusive rights to use the name however you wish. The exclusive rights to your business name is only gained when you register your business name as a trademark.

Does my business need a trademark for my website domain name?

What exactly is a registered trademark?

A registered trademark provides its owner exclusive rights to use the trademark (within specified classes of goods and services) within the jurisdiction in which it has been registered. You will find in most countries, there are around 45 different classes of goods and services under which you can register trademarks. Make sure you register your business’ trademark in every class in which you are trading (or intend to trade). Remember, the registered trademark owner has the legal right to prevent anyone else from using the trademark, within those classes of goods or services, without consent. In addition, the registered trademark owner can ask for compensation for unauthorised use.

Should I have a trademark for an online-only business?

Your online customer base has the potential to be geographically diverse. Consider whether your trademark will be legally protected in all of the main geographic areas your online trade comes from.

You can apply for trademarks country by country, however, if you want broad international coverage, you may want to firstly cover all EU member states by applying for a European Union Trademark (EUTM). Next, you can make a single application to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (using your EUTM trademark registration) to apply for trademark registrations in over 90 countries.

What are the risks if I do not register my business name as a trademark?

Before you use your business’ domain name, you must check that no other business has secured a trademark for that domain name – or one that is strikingly similar. If you begin trading online and your name is the same, or confusingly similar, a registered trademark within the same industry, you may find yourself at the wrong end of a costly infringement action and possibly liable to pay compensation.

Securing your business name as a trademark may also prevent cybersquatting. Cybersquatters register a domain name that is the same (or almost the same as) a legitimate, official business to try to trick people. Often the customer is redirected away to another website.

Without a registered trademark, you may leave yourself exposed to legal action. Owners of trademarked business names can prevent other businesses from trading and seek financial compensation for damages. Registering a domain name does not mean you own the name, you are simply given a licence to use the name for a period of time. In the case of trademark infringement, your domain name licence would be revoked by the domain name regulatory body (auDA).  The domain name would then be offered to the trademark owner.

Consider the catastrophic impact this situation would have on your business if you lost your domain name!

If your business is online only, you must remember that your domain name is your entire brand identity. Protecting your web address is an essential step to safeguard your brand’s identity, not to mention as a security measure to continue to uphold your online rankings.

When you decide to trademark your business name, you are protecting your brand identity and potentially avoiding some nasty experiences down the track. Remember, your business name, company name and domain name do not give you exclusive ownership rights to use your business name, as only a trademark affords you exclusive proprietary rights. Registering your business name as a trademark enables you to take advantage of the many IP protections offered to online businesses under the law.

To ensure your business, domain and website are safeguarded, the best strategy is to register your domain name and combine this with trademark registration. Your trademark is a valuable marketing tool, and as your business’s success increases, so does your trademark’s value increase!

Further Information
How to Create a Saleable Business Using Your Website
Top 5 Online Learning Platforms to Help You Grow as a Business Leader
10 Tips to Becoming a Thought Leader in Your Industry
Top 10 Ways to Use QR Codes to Promote Your Business and Your Website
Top Reasons Why Your Website Speed Impacts Your Business
Top 20 Website Accessibility Tips for Creating a W3C Website
How to Set Up Your Home Office for Video Meetings
Top 5 Web Browsers for WordPress Website Editing
Website Platform Review: Squarespace vs WordPress

Stand out from your competition with a Pixel Fish website!

Call us today on 02 9114 9813 or email info@pixelfish.com.au

Related Blogs

Top 10 Steps to Start a Successful Online Store in 2022

Top 10 Steps to Start a Successful Online Store in 2022

In 2022, becoming your own e-commerce retailer has never been easier. If you want an online store, it’s really quite simple to build one, secure a supplier, and start advertising. Of course, the website doesn’t exactly build itself, and you’ll still need to supply all the unique brand experience and selling points to bring in customers, but the tools are all there waiting to be used.

Top 5 Strategies on How to Price Ecommerce Products

Top 5 Strategies on How to Price Ecommerce Products

Pricing your ecommerce products is a critical decision that you must make as a business owner. However, determining the best product price is difficult. The price you set affects demand, profits margins, cash flow and the expenses your business can manage to cover.

Top 5 Highly Effective Customer Retention Strategies

Top 5 Highly Effective Customer Retention Strategies

When you’re in business, acquiring two new customers feels great. But the truth is, nothing is better than retaining an existing customer. To help you through your customer retention journey, we look at the most practical and Effective Customer Retention Strategies. 

Contact Pixel Fish

Get Started with a new Pixel Fish Website

We would love to hear about your upcoming website project

Kevin Fouché, Pixel Fish Director