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Protecting Business Names, Domain Names and Trademarks

Today new businesses want to have a presence on the Internet. Most people want a domain name that matches their business name or trademark. Since all of these terms will be linked with your business it is a good idea to consider adoption of these names concurrently. To put it another way, don't sign up for a domain name if the trademark or business name is not available. Similarly, don't choose a business name or trademark if all of the identical or similar domain names are owned by others.

Of course, if you are really serious about a name you can always try to buy an existing mark, name or URL. In most cases this will probably cost more than creating an original name.

Before choosing your business name it is a good idea to have a corporate name search done to be sure that no one else has the same or similar name. Just because a state will register your corporate name does not mean you are clear of any conflicts.

If you are adopting a trademark or logo as well as your corporate name we recommend a trademark search be done by a competent attorney or search service to be sure that the mark is clear of conflicts. This should be done even if the corporate name has cleared the business name search and the trademark is similar to the corporate name.

If the trademark and business names are cleared, the next step would be to secure a matching domain name. Internet domains can be purchased from any of a number of Internet providers such as GoDaddy.com or networksolutions.com. (These are examples only and we are not recommending any particular vendor.) Costs and services vary widely so you may want to do some price comparisons. A good vendor will provide options for your URL selection. You may want to secure several similar domains to avoid pirates or to use as redirect addresses to your website.

Once you have selected and cleared your business name, trademark and domain name you can protect your mark(s) by filing a trademark registration application in the US Patent and Trademark Office. You are allowed to "reserve" a mark if you have a bona fide intention to use the mark in interstate commerce by filing an "Intent-to-Use" trademark application.

For more information on trademarks see our archived blog: http://www.citadelpatentlaw.com/Inventor-Lab/Trademark-Primer.aspx or you can visit uspto.gov-but bookmark our site first so you can return easily: http://www.citadelpatentlaw.com.

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Citadel Patent Law - Tacoma Intellectual Property Attorney
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