How to register an internet domain and check whether it is not a company trademark?
I have this idea for a food website but have no clue how to register an online business. Secondly, how does one legally ensure the name is approved? Also, if the website name is a ‘common phrase’ expression that refers to a marketing label but there are no companies using that label, then is it still valid?
For a hypothetical example: If I were to call my website www.superfoods.com knowing there is a company Sunshinehealth.com selling super foods, would that be OK?
You are wise to be concerned about this. Just because you can register a domain name does not mean that you will have the right to use it. As an example, let’s say I could register Yahoo.biz. Just because I managed to register the name does not mean I could violate Yahoo’s trademark and start up my own search engine under that name.
On the other hand if you registered Yahoo.biz and your company was selling hamburgers you could easily go forward and use the name since Yahoo’s trademark likely does not cover hamburgers.
A trademark is registered for some products. In theory if the trademark owner does not register for their name under a product category it is available.
However you must also realize that large companies with lots of lawyers that have nothing better to do can take you to court over any trademark and unless you have the money you will go out of business.
So your best bet is to do a very careful trademark search on your proposed name, make sure it is not used for any purpose and then check to see if the domain name is available. Eventually you will come up with a combination of clear trademark and clear domain that works.
Once you find it make sure you purchase all the possible names like .com, .net, .org, .biz etc. This will prevent a competitor from setting up shop using your name somewhere down the line.
Don’t think a trademark automatically protects you. Having a trademark just means you can go to court and sue someone over the name. You are responsible for defending your name and have to pay lawyers to do so. So preventing a squatter from grabbing the .biz version of your name, for example, is a much cheaper option than suing them later.
See the links below for even more useful information on these issues.
Ultimate Nutrition Superfood Smoothie recipe