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Safeguarding your website domain names from counterfeit

In years past, trademarks were arguably the most important encapsulation of a brand's identity, but in the digital age, domains have become every bit as vital. Without properly registering domain names for your organization's websites, you surrender internet visibility for your products and services — which amounts to an insurmountable competitive disadvantage. Dennemeyer & Associates can help you establish distinct domains that will guarantee awareness of your goods and services in the increasingly crowded virtual universe.


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Summary

The key benefits of Domain Protection

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Comprehensive registration

Dennemeyer will ensure that the second-level domains for your websites are filed not only with ICANN-accredited registrars but also protected as trademarks.

 

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Fighting unauthorized use

If any third parties attempt to infringe upon domains that should be yours through "cybersquatting" or other forms of misappropriation, we will readily bring legal actions against them.

What is domain protection?

Domain protection is integral to safeguarding your brand, ensuring that every website run is part of your Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio. You can receive a domain registration from any registrar recognized by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN oversees these registrars but does not handle domain registrations itself. This means if a domain registrar lets your website's protection lapse without providing reminders ahead of the expiration date, the organization is likely breaching ICANN policy. The same is true if they ignore a renewal request during the 30-day post-deadline grace period. In both cases, ICANN could help restore domain name protection. What is the difference between public and private options for domain protection? The domain owner of a website can generally be searched for using the public Whois database. If a domain is publicly registered, Whois will show the owner's contact information, including name, address, telephone number and email. However, a registrant can request a privacy or proxy registration service from some registrars, meaning personal data is hidden in Whois search results. In this case, registrant contact information in the raw data is listed, for example, as REDACTED FOR PRIVACY, and other personnel fields show little to no material or read "Please contact the registrar." Nonetheless, registrants who protect their privacy in this way can normally be contacted through an option available on the registrar's website. Meanwhile, a registrar may be obliged to disclose data in some circumstances, for example, in the event of infringement.

Why is domain protection important?

In this era dominated by the internet, establishing a robust online presence is crucial for effective branding, comparable to establishing and defending a portfolio of trademarks. With websites as the cornerstone of this digital identity, it is essential to recognize if your domain names are compromised to avoid severe repercussions for your brand. How can domain hijackers damage my brand's identity? If someone uses your domain name without permission, it could damage the business value of that name. Even brief domain hijacking for untoward reasons (e.g., building a dummy website to redirect people to offensive content) can attract negative attention and hurt your organization's reputation. If the site is seriously hacked and control is wrested away from the legitimate owner, a malicious actor could commit identity theft or ruin the site's user experience in what is a major breach of customer trust as much as a reputational blow. Then there is cybersquatting to consider: misappropriation of your domain name with the intention of profiting off a trusted brand image or customer goodwill. This is willful trademark infringement, but it can go unnoticed if you do not have a domain services provider on the lookout for bogus domain registrations. Prolonged cybersquatting will confuse users trying to find your websites, damaging your earning potential and subtracting value from your business.

Why do domain extensions matter?

Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) like .com, .net, .co and .org are most familiar to internet users and thus capture the most attention when used in conjunction with your second-level domain (which you create). How do I determine which domain extensions to buy? If there is a ".com" version of your preferred website name available, that domain extension is generally the best choice due to its recognizability. If that gTLD is taken, an alternative like .net, .co or .biz will also stand out to people. Companies in particular industries may seek gTLDs specific to that sector if ".com" is unobtainable. Country-specific domain extensions, also called country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) – .uk, .fr, .in and so on – are useful if you want separate sites in different jurisdictions. You can also add subdomains to categorize different areas of your website more easily. But be sure any new domain you register (and pay for) offers real business value. To this end, Dennemeyer experts can help you choose the exact domains you need.

How long can domain protection last?

Under ICANN standards, domain ownership can last up to 10 years before it must be renewed. However, registrars are free to establish shorter terms and are not required to offer renewal. That being the case, if they do allow renewals, these are unlimited.

Why should domains be registered as trademarks whenever possible?

Dennemeyer encourages the registration of domains as trademarks as far as possible because trademark laws offer stronger protection than ICANN standards. Trademark eligibility standards vary by jurisdiction, so it may not be possible to register every domain. Some regions do not hold domains to be trademarkable assets, while others may consider a name too generic. On this point, the high-profile Booking.com case should not be considered representative as holding "acquired distinctiveness" or "secondary meaning" in the minds of consumers is a high bar to meet.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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