Monday, March 08, 2010

The Domain Name Game

From my weekly (AM) radio segment titled "Legal Minute"

Do you need a domain name for your business or maybe that personal website where you share pictures with your family in another state? Whatever your purpose might be, you must think twice before registering that catchy domain name. If you make the mistake of choosing a domain name that is someone else’s trademark, then you run the risk of having to turn over the domain name to the true trademark owner. You will also lose your investment in the domain. For instance, let’s say you wanted to register the domain name for Taco Bell. Let’s say you ’re successful in doing that and purchase the rights to As soon as you can say “quesadilla”, you will probably receive a letter from the Taco Bell Corporation informing you that your domain name infringes their trademark. The fact is, Taco Bell would have a valid argument under the law because they own the trademark to that name. At that point, you would be forced to give up use of the domain name and turn it over to the Taco Bell Corporation. Before registering a domain name, it pays to spend time researching the proposed name to make sure that it’s not already someone else’s trademark.