26 replies
Hey warriors,

Has anyone here trademarked a domain name?

If you run a website for 6 months and it is a phrase (domain name), can someone eventually trademark that phrase, although you own the site?

If anyone has expertise on this matter, i'd highly appreciate it...

Thanks
#trademarks
  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Not an expert... but owning a domain name and registering a trademark have nothing to do with each other - in this order!

    So, yes, just because I owe a domain, someone else can register a trademark for that phrase.
    However, if you registered already the trademark - then I can't really buy that domain. (Some cases you can but then the trademark owner will go after you)

    As you can see, it is not a two-way street...
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  • Profile picture of the author TeamBringIt
    Right on, that makes perfect sense..Ty
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  • Profile picture of the author TeamBringIt
    If you start a website and think it has lots of potential, would you guys/gals trademark the name of the site?
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    If you have a domain, then someone trademarks the word, they cannot take your domain, unless you change your site to make use of their trademark.

    Example:

    You register acmebaubble.com for your website which promotes acme baubble hair products.

    Six months later Bob trademarks the name acme baubble for selling car motor oil.

    Having the trademark does not mean Bob can now take your domain in a domain dispute.

    But, then you decide to change your site to promote car motor oil and to take advantage of Bob's trademark. Now Bob could file an action to seize your domain.

    .
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  • Profile picture of the author TeamBringIt
    So if i own a domain phrase (domain name) and it gets popular, in 6 months someone cannot trademark that phrase? Or they can trademark it , but just can't take that domain from me?
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      A trademark is designed to prevent consumer confusion as to who is responsible for a product.

      There can be Disney theme parks and your local Disney plumber since there is no confusion about who is providing the service.

      There is Delta faucets and Delta airlines.

      Multiple businesses can trademark the same name, so long as there is no consumer confusion. There may be an opportunity to effectively get a monopoly on a name if it becomes very famous (rare), and the more unique it is the better,
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  • Profile picture of the author paulgl
    You cannot just trademark anything. You must have a reason, including how
    you will use it for the goods or services that you are offering.

    It's not just a matter of thinking up words and then trademarking them.

    I'll eve quote the US govt:
    The identification of goods and/or services must be specific enough to identify the nature of the goods and/or services.
    You can't trademark normal everyday words and phrases, not does
    everything need or available for trademarking.

    Justy off the top of my head, Sarah Palin could not trademark her name.

    However, she sure could file action to get sarahpalin.com, just the
    way madonna did. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. I don't
    think Palin made the effort. A lot of celebrities don't.

    Then you run into the fact that US laws do not translate well enough
    across a lot of foreign borders.

    I remember apple losing, or something like that, when they tried
    to file action for iphone.com. Instead, they had to pay a pretty
    penny to buy it from the owner. But note apple has the trademark
    iphone, but could not get the domain iphone.com based on the
    trademark. The person had bought iphone.com years before and
    had a legit reason to own it.

    Too many people think you can just take a domain. You have to file,
    go through a process, and win. The US govt can shut down a website
    in the US for various illegal activities without this, but that's not the
    same as a domain dispute.

    Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    Yes, someone can trademark a name after you already own the domain and sue you.

    Back when Nissan was still Datsun, a man named Uzi Nissan registered nissan.com in 1994. This was in support of his import/export business "Nissan International" that he started in 1987 and his later computer and peripherals business.

    In 1999 the new Nissan Motors (formerly Datsun) sued Uzi Nissan for his use of nissan.com.

    In 2002 a judgement split many of the decisions. Anything to do with cars was ruled in Nissan Motors favour. But cybersquating charges and non-automotive issues were ruled in Uzi Nissan's favour (Nissan Computers).

    Nissan Motors appealed and kept fighting through 2008.

    In Feb 2008 court costs were awarded to Uzi Nissan. Nissan Motors was ordered to pay $58,000.

    In March 2008 Nissan Motors applied for Federal Trademark Registration of Nissan for computers and computer peripherals. It seems in direct response to losing those portions of the case.

    Uzi Nissan still owns the domain after fighting in court for over 10 years. He discusses the case here:

    Nissan.com - Lawsuit - The Story

    EDIT: This case follows exactly what Kindsvater described. As it seems Uzi Nissan did try to monetize in the automotive niche after Datsun became Nissan.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Wells
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      Yes, someone can trademark a name after you already own the domain and sue you.

      Back when Nissan was still Datsun, a man named Uzi Nissan registered nissan.com in 1994. This was in support of his import/export business "Nissan International" that he started in 1987 and his later computer and peripherals business.

      In 1999 the new Nissan Motors (formerly Datsun) sued Uzi Nissan for his use of nissan.com.

      In 2002 a judgement split many of the decisions. Anything to do with cars was ruled in Nissan Motors favour. But cybersquating charges and non-automotive issues were ruled in Uzi Nissan's favour (Nissan Computers).

      Nissan Motors appealed and kept fighting through 2008.

      In Feb 2008 court costs were awarded to Uzi Nissan. Nissan Motors was ordered to pay $58,000.

      In March 2008 Nissan Motors applied for Federal Trademark Registration of Nissan for computers and computer peripherals. It seems in direct response to losing those portions of the case.

      Uzi Nissan still owns the domain after fighting in court for over 10 years. He discusses the case here:

      Nissan.com - Lawsuit - The Story

      EDIT: This case follows exactly what Kindsvater described. As it seems Uzi Nissan did try to monetize in the automotive niche after Datsun became Nissan.
      Glad he took a stand and still is taking a stand.... he is up against a HUGE corporation with deeeeeeeeeeeeep pockets. Which may have been daunting and may still be daunting.

      Glad he won, and is still winning....
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      • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
        Ordinary words or a person's name can be trademarked. Many are.

        In the past people have posted saying they do not include trademarks in the domain names - but then are shocked to learn common words they are using, even their names, are the subject of someone's trademark.

        The trademarks have to be specific to a product. One cannot trademark a common work and expect it to be removed from the dictionary. .

        Last I looked, there was a trademark for the word "trademark."

        .
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  • Profile picture of the author Hampton44
    Well--back to the orginal poster. Let's say you find a great niche---and guess what--there is an amazing .com available, you snatch it up. It's a unique name, do you trademark this---because eventually someone else is going to come along and do this. And surprisingly they haven't. Just to cover your bases--because this goes huge, it could be it.
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    • Profile picture of the author RanD
      Originally Posted by Hampton44 View Post

      Well--back to the orginal poster. Let's say you find a great niche---and guess what--there is an amazing .com available, you snatch it up. It's a unique name, do you trademark this---because eventually someone else is going to come along and do this. And surprisingly they haven't. Just to cover your bases--because this goes huge, it could be it.

      That was already answered:

      Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

      You cannot just trademark anything. You must have a reason, including how
      you will use it for the goods or services that you are offering.

      It's not just a matter of thinking up words and then trademarking them.
      and:

      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      A trademark is designed to prevent consumer confusion as to who is responsible for a product...

      ...Multiple businesses can trademark the same name, so long as there is no consumer confusion. There may be an opportunity to effectively get a monopoly on a name if it becomes very famous (rare), and the more unique it is the better,
      You can't trademark a domain name, just because it is "cool" and you think it will become big.
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      • Profile picture of the author onSubie
        Originally Posted by RanD View Post

        You can't trademark a domain name, just because it is "cool" and you think it will become big.
        Actually you can.

        If I want to make a company called "Koolzio", I can trademark that name for my company. There are many made up words that are registered trademarks like Kleenex, Kodak and Realtor.

        Once the name of your company is a registered trademark, then the domain is also trademarked. You don't actually trademark the domain, you trademark the brand used in the domain.

        An example of a common dictionary word that is trademarked by many companies in different industries is "Delta".

        EDIT: You can search for trademarks at the US Patent and Trademark Office
        http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/process/search/
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      • Profile picture of the author Hampton44
        I am not trademarkig because its cool---I am trademarking because I am already in the industry selling the product and want to create a brand.
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        • Profile picture of the author Gonzosan
          So I'll jump into this and ask "when do you trademark your "brand" name"? I have a few websites up and one of them I plan to make into a pretty big business. I just started in December but do I need to worry if someone will take my name and ideas and run with it? I'm not sure if it's that easy to take someone's exact brand name but just wondering if it's something I should be worried about right now.
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  • Profile picture of the author TeamBringIt
    I have noticed that, all the top & popular websites-- are all trademarked. Their names are trademarked and that's all i was seeking. Growing a website/business and trademarking it later can be costly...
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      As long as you realize getting a trademark is not free. You'll pay $200-300+ to file for trademark protection.
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      • Profile picture of the author TeamBringIt
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        As long as you realize getting a trademark is not free. You'll pay $200-300+ to file for trademark protection.
        Of course not, it costs $3-$400 to do it and worth every penny
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          LOL - I was trying to be gentle
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  • Profile picture of the author Walter Parrish
    Originally Posted by TeamBringIt View Post

    Hey warriors,

    Has anyone here trademarked a domain name?

    If you run a website for 6 months and it is a phrase (domain name), can someone eventually trademark that phrase, although you own the site?

    If anyone has expertise on this matter, i'd highly appreciate it...

    Thanks
    A domain name cannot be trademarked it's two different things.

    Now, anyone can come along and tradename your business name, a tradename will not save you either, but will cost you money.

    The thing about a tradename and also trademarks is you have to have the ability to find out if someone else is using your name and be able to take them to court to protect it.
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    • Profile picture of the author davezan
      Originally Posted by TeamBringIt View Post

      Has anyone here trademarked a domain name?
      Originally Posted by RanD View Post

      You can't trademark a domain name, just because it is "cool" and you think it will become big.
      Originally Posted by Walter Parrish View Post

      A domain name cannot be trademarked
      "Word Mark ABOUT.COM
      Goods and Services IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: series of non-fiction books on a variety of topics. FIRST USE: 20061026. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20061026
      Standard Characters Claimed
      Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
      Trademark Search Facility Classification Code NOTATION-SYMBOLS Notation Symbols such as Non-Latin characters,punctuation and mathematical signs,zodiac signs,prescription marks
      Serial Number 78747140
      Filing Date November 4, 2005
      Current Basis 1A
      Original Filing Basis 1B
      Published for Opposition February 6, 2007
      Registration Number 3363403
      Registration Date January 1, 2008
      Owner (REGISTRANT) About.com CORPORATION DELAWARE 1500 Broadway, 6th Floor New York NEW YORK 10036
      Attorney of Record Jordan A. LaVine
      Prior Registrations 2348472;2714844;2716901
      Type of Mark TRADEMARK
      Register PRINCIPAL
      Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
      Live/Dead Indicator LIVE"

      Word Mark AMAZON.COM
      Goods and Services IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: computer services, namely, providing search engines for locating information, resources, and the websites of others on the internet; providing a wide range of general interest information via the internet; providing electronic greeting cards via the internet. FIRST USE: 20000131. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20000131
      Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
      Design Search Code 24.15.25 - Other arrows
      26.17.09 - Bands, curved; Bars, curved; Curved line(s), band(s) or bar(s); Lines, curved
      Serial Number 75895252
      Filing Date January 12, 2000
      Current Basis 1A
      Original Filing Basis 1B
      Published for Opposition December 25, 2001
      Registration Number 2696140
      Registration Date March 11, 2003
      Owner (REGISTRANT) Amazon.com, Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE Suite 1200, 1200 12th Ave. South Seattle WASHINGTON 981442734
      (LAST LISTED OWNER) AMAZON TECHNOLOGIES, INC. CORPORATION NEVADA PO BOX 8102, ATTN: TRADEMARKS RENO NEVADA 89507

      Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
      Prior Registrations 2078494;2078496;2167345
      Description of Mark Color is not claimed as a feature of the mark.
      Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
      Register PRINCIPAL
      Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20130306.
      Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20130306
      Live/Dead Indicator LIVE"

      "Word Mark GODADDY.COM
      Goods and Services IC 036. US 100 101 102. G & S: Financial sponsorship of athletes and athletic events. FIRST USE: 20091130. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20091130
      Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
      Design Search Code 01.01.03 - Star - a single star with five points
      01.15.05 - Smoke; Steam; Vapor
      02.01.01 - Busts of men facing forward; Heads of men facing forward; Men - heads, portraiture, or busts facing forward; Portraiture of men facing forward
      02.01.31 - Men, stylized, including men depicted in caricature form
      16.03.07 - Eyeglasses; Frames, eyeglass; Glasses, eye; Glasses, safety; Goggles; Safety goggles; Spectacles; Sunglasses
      26.03.13 - Ovals, exactly two (not concentric); Two ovals
      26.03.16 - Ovals touching or intersecting
      26.03.21 - Ovals that are completely or partially shaded
      Trademark Search Facility Classification Code ART-16.03 Photography; cinematography; optics
      GROT-HUM Exaggerated depiction of a human
      INAN Inanimate objects such as lighting,clouds,footprints,atomic configurations,snowflakes,rainbows,flames
      NOTATION-SYMBOLS Notation Symbols such as Non-Latin characters,punctuation and mathematical signs,zodiac signs,prescription marks
      SHAPES-ASTRO Astronomical shapes consisting of celestial bodies, globes and geographical maps
      SHAPES-COLORS-3-OR-MORE Design listing or lined for three or more colors
      SHAPES-MISC Miscellaneous shaped designs
      SHAPES-OVALS Oval figures or designs including incomplete ovals and one or more ovals
      Serial Number 77950729
      Filing Date March 4, 2010
      Current Basis 1A
      Original Filing Basis 1A
      Published for Opposition July 27, 2010
      Registration Number 3860412
      Registration Date October 12, 2010
      Owner (REGISTRANT) GoDaddy.com, Inc. CORPORATION ARIZONA Suite 219 14455 N. Hayden Road Scottsdale ARIZONA 85260
      (LAST LISTED OWNER) GO DADDY OPERATING COMPANY, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY DELAWARE 14455 N. HAYDEN ROAD, SUITE 219 SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA 85260

      Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
      Attorney of Record Nima Kelly
      Prior Registrations 3605479;3608456;3672972;AND OTHERS
      Description of Mark The color(s) orange, yellow, green, black and white is/are claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of a stylized bust of a man's head outlined in black and shaded in white, wearing glasses outlined in black with green lenses, a yellow star outlined in black at the top left of the head and curved orange lines at the top of the head outlined in black peeking over the stylized word "GoDaddy.com" with the "GoDaddy" portion shaded in white set against a black oval and with the ".com" portion shaded in black appearing within a yellow oval outlined in black.
      Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
      Register PRINCIPAL
      Live/Dead Indicator LIVE"
      Signature

      David

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      • Profile picture of the author Walter Parrish
        Originally Posted by davezan View Post

        "Word Mark ABOUT.COM
        Goods and Services IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: series of non-fiction books on a variety of topics. FIRST USE: 20061026. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20061026
        Standard Characters Claimed
        Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
        Trademark Search Facility Classification Code NOTATION-SYMBOLS Notation Symbols such as Non-Latin characters,punctuation and mathematical signs,zodiac signs,prescription marks
        Serial Number 78747140
        Filing Date November 4, 2005
        Current Basis 1A
        Original Filing Basis 1B
        Published for Opposition February 6, 2007
        Registration Number 3363403
        Registration Date January 1, 2008
        Owner (REGISTRANT) About.com CORPORATION DELAWARE 1500 Broadway, 6th Floor New York NEW YORK 10036
        Attorney of Record Jordan A. LaVine
        Prior Registrations 2348472;2714844;2716901
        Type of Mark TRADEMARK
        Register PRINCIPAL
        Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
        Live/Dead Indicator LIVE"

        Word Mark AMAZON.COM
        Goods and Services IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: computer services, namely, providing search engines for locating information, resources, and the websites of others on the internet; providing a wide range of general interest information via the internet; providing electronic greeting cards via the internet. FIRST USE: 20000131. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20000131
        Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
        Design Search Code 24.15.25 - Other arrows
        26.17.09 - Bands, curved; Bars, curved; Curved line(s), band(s) or bar(s); Lines, curved
        Serial Number 75895252
        Filing Date January 12, 2000
        Current Basis 1A
        Original Filing Basis 1B
        Published for Opposition December 25, 2001
        Registration Number 2696140
        Registration Date March 11, 2003
        Owner (REGISTRANT) Amazon.com, Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE Suite 1200, 1200 12th Ave. South Seattle WASHINGTON 981442734
        (LAST LISTED OWNER) AMAZON TECHNOLOGIES, INC. CORPORATION NEVADA PO BOX 8102, ATTN: TRADEMARKS RENO NEVADA 89507

        Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
        Prior Registrations 2078494;2078496;2167345
        Description of Mark Color is not claimed as a feature of the mark.
        Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
        Register PRINCIPAL
        Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20130306.
        Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20130306
        Live/Dead Indicator LIVE"

        "Word Mark GODADDY.COM
        Goods and Services IC 036. US 100 101 102. G & S: Financial sponsorship of athletes and athletic events. FIRST USE: 20091130. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20091130
        Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
        Design Search Code 01.01.03 - Star - a single star with five points
        01.15.05 - Smoke; Steam; Vapor
        02.01.01 - Busts of men facing forward; Heads of men facing forward; Men - heads, portraiture, or busts facing forward; Portraiture of men facing forward
        02.01.31 - Men, stylized, including men depicted in caricature form
        16.03.07 - Eyeglasses; Frames, eyeglass; Glasses, eye; Glasses, safety; Goggles; Safety goggles; Spectacles; Sunglasses
        26.03.13 - Ovals, exactly two (not concentric); Two ovals
        26.03.16 - Ovals touching or intersecting
        26.03.21 - Ovals that are completely or partially shaded
        Trademark Search Facility Classification Code ART-16.03 Photography; cinematography; optics
        GROT-HUM Exaggerated depiction of a human
        INAN Inanimate objects such as lighting,clouds,footprints,atomic configurations,snowflakes,rainbows,flames
        NOTATION-SYMBOLS Notation Symbols such as Non-Latin characters,punctuation and mathematical signs,zodiac signs,prescription marks
        SHAPES-ASTRO Astronomical shapes consisting of celestial bodies, globes and geographical maps
        SHAPES-COLORS-3-OR-MORE Design listing or lined for three or more colors
        SHAPES-MISC Miscellaneous shaped designs
        SHAPES-OVALS Oval figures or designs including incomplete ovals and one or more ovals
        Serial Number 77950729
        Filing Date March 4, 2010
        Current Basis 1A
        Original Filing Basis 1A
        Published for Opposition July 27, 2010
        Registration Number 3860412
        Registration Date October 12, 2010
        Owner (REGISTRANT) GoDaddy.com, Inc. CORPORATION ARIZONA Suite 219 14455 N. Hayden Road Scottsdale ARIZONA 85260
        (LAST LISTED OWNER) GO DADDY OPERATING COMPANY, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY DELAWARE 14455 N. HAYDEN ROAD, SUITE 219 SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA 85260

        Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
        Attorney of Record Nima Kelly
        Prior Registrations 3605479;3608456;3672972;AND OTHERS
        Description of Mark The color(s) orange, yellow, green, black and white is/are claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of a stylized bust of a man's head outlined in black and shaded in white, wearing glasses outlined in black with green lenses, a yellow star outlined in black at the top left of the head and curved orange lines at the top of the head outlined in black peeking over the stylized word "GoDaddy.com" with the "GoDaddy" portion shaded in white set against a black oval and with the ".com" portion shaded in black appearing within a yellow oval outlined in black.
        Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
        Register PRINCIPAL
        Live/Dead Indicator LIVE"
        you're confusing tradenames with trademarks.
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        • Profile picture of the author davezan
          Originally Posted by Walter Parrish View Post

          you're confusing tradenames with trademarks.
          If that's the case as you said, then why the ones I put here are also registered
          trademarks
          at USPTO? I'd link each of them here if only they don't expire after
          some time, but you can search at USPTO with their registration numbers.

          I am just showing that domain names can also become trademarks, although only
          to a certain point. Besides, tradenames can also become trademarks if the former
          are used functionally like the latter. (i.e. Microsoft, Google)

          Trademark Application Questions

          What is the difference between a trade name and a trademark?

          A trade name is another way of saying a commercial enterprise has a product or service name or identification that is used in commercial trade. Trade names can include both registered or unregistered trademarks and service marks.
          Signature

          David

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          • Profile picture of the author Walter Parrish
            Originally Posted by davezan View Post

            If that's the case as you said, then why the ones I put here are also registered
            trademarks
            at USPTO? I'd link each of them here if only they don't expire after
            some time, but you can search at USPTO with their registration numbers.

            I am just showing that domain names can also become trademarks, although only
            to a certain point. Besides, tradenames can also become trademarks if they are
            used functionally like the latter. (i.e. Microsoft, Google)
            It has to do with the colors, symbols, and the name included making it a trademark not trade name. A good example of a tradename is Microsoft, what makes it a tradename is the fact that it's unique. What makes it a trademark are both the unique name the colors, symbols etc.
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            • Profile picture of the author davezan
              Originally Posted by Walter Parrish View Post

              What makes it a trademark are both the unique name the colors, symbols etc.
              And, don't forget, that they can become trademarks if they are used to identify
              their sources of goods or services in commerce. One can't just create some logo
              and say, "Hey, I got a trademark!" if the market can't tell who's the source of it.

              I have some domain-trademark lawyers to thank for drilling all this stuff into me.
              Signature

              David

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  • Profile picture of the author Hampton44
    Question---what if a small business ( a small shop in maryland ...nothing major...) uses your name....but I own the .com url---and this is what I plan on using as my "brand" ---is this an issue.
    Lets say its "Red Kitty Cat" as the business name, I buy the url and my brand is "Red kitty Cat clothing" and our items we sell are in the same niche. Should I not use this name? Is this trademark or tradename?
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