The only way to protect your domain name is with a trademark. Let me tell you a story about a recent client of mine. I'll call her Jane Doe. Jane thought she could protect your business name by simply registering every domain name that was similar to the name of her company. For the sake of argument, let's call her company new startup.com. In addition to the.com extension, Jane registered the dotnet.org.biz.us dot info and.tv extensions, I thought there was no way she said that anyone could trample my company's good name. I figured at $9 a year for each extension. registering the domain name is a bargain compared to getting a trademark filed. Somehow her dotnet domain names slipped through the cracks and expired without her noticing. She came to me when she discovered that a competitor had snapped up the expired domain name before she could renew it. That's when she explained that registering all those domain names was a lot cheaper than hiring an attorney to file a trademark application. So I asked her about the new extensions that are available like.net.us.tv and others. And have you registered all the variations of your domain name? Just the top of my head I thought of new startup.com with the hyphen being in several different places, new startups.com newest startups.com newest startups.com with hyphens in different places, and fresh startups.com. And what about the dotnet.biz.org and other extensions? I asked and when her face fell, I had the answer. Registering a domain name only prevents a competitor from using that exact domain name. But there's no limit to the number of creative variations, your competitors will register, leaving your business completely vulnerable. A federal trademark would have prevented Jane's competitors from using the identical trademark, but also prevented them from using any confusingly similar variations. The truth is, domain names cost you money each and every year, whereas federal trademarks are forever. And you only have to deal with periodic renewals and other filings every five to 10 years. Jane learned the hard way that her cheap solution was hardly a bargain. It's so easy to avoid the mistakes that Jane made. Don't risk your new businesses good name and don't risk the hassles expense and embarrassment of a trademark infringement lawsuit. contact me with any questions or if you'd like to take the first step towards protecting your company's brand or product names.
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