First thing first, it’s a sign that you’ve missed something. Like trademark registration or perhaps domain registration… Internet today holds tremendous importance for businesses. It’s like a window to the world, but we still lack knowledge regarding possibilities that can occur on internet (and let’s not start with money, because domain registration doesn’t represent such big expense).
Domain is a big part of company’s portfolio and its management is always under scrutiny by investors, strategic partners, banks etc. You may ask why?
Cancellation of single domain or failure to register a domain on the key market due to improper or delayed action can prevent the company from gaining access to may markets while bringing financial consequences. Domains and brands go hand in hand, so let’s not forget about them.
Let’s imagine that you strategically plan to come on US, EU or China markets in future and you have chosen the name of your product or service. You register a generic .com domain or domain with .si or .eu, but you don’t register trademark on any of the key markets. Suddenly you notice (or perhaps you’ve been warned) that someone has identical domain that is accessible on all of key markets and they even offer similar products or services. Maybe the domain is just leased and they require that you buy it. What can you do?
Without registered trademark in key markets it will be difficult to do anything quickly and inexpensively. Bad faith and illegitimacy of the interest of the holder of later (!!) domain has to be proven. We often get questions like following: Domain is registered in Russia but it’s also available in my market, for example in the EU.
If your brand is registered in the EU you can quickly prevent this domain from being accessible on the market where you have registered trademark.
If there is no trademark certificate, you have to initiate dispute, that naturally costs a lot (let’s estimate the dispute to 7.000 EUR compared to registration of trademark in EU, which costs from 850 EUR). Domain registration on average costs around 20 EUR per domain, so you can cover all key markets for approximately 100 EUR. When initiating a dispute you have to adduce evidence that:
- The owner of disputed domain is in bad faith
- The owner doesn’t have bona fide economic interest for the use of domain (for example he would only like to sell the domain)
- The owner bought the domain to prevent business of legitimate owner
- It creates confusion on the market
In conclusion, it is prudent to register trademark and domain. Both because of the same reason; to prevent misuse, financial losses and to prevent rendering positioning of your brand on key markets.