Once you have identified your marks and sought protection through registration for some or all of them, there are still going to be other issues that you will need to consider. Trademark owners have an obligation to police their marks and take steps to stop infringers. Otherwise, they may run the risk that someone else will profit off their marks or tarnish the reputation they have developed for those marks. In extreme cases, the failure to police one’s marks may result in losing them entirely. The biggest issues in trademark protection today arise from the use of trademarks on the Internet. In this blog, we identify some situations that you may encounter or want to think about.

Also, note that we have set a date for our free webinar – please join us on November 15th at 1pm Eastern Time for a live overview of the many issues we have discussed in this series. You can register here.


You undoubtedly have one or more websites to promote your services, to interact with your listeners or viewers or to make video or audio available for online viewing or listening. You have spent a fair amount of time and money promoting your sites. Then, you learn that someone else has registered and is using a domain name that is confusingly similar to your domain name or one of your trademarks to attract traffic to their site. There are numerous ways that these cybersquatters can register a variation on your domain name or mark: adding (or dropping) a hyphen, adding a generic term, misspelling a word, omitting a letter, and replacing the letter “o” with a “zero” or the letter “l” with a “one” are some of the most common.
Continue Reading Trademark Basics, Part Five: Trademarks on the Internet

The .co top level domain (TLD) is being opened to the general public, and one can envision a run on registrations similar to that experienced for .com.  It is easy to see why the Colombia country code, formerly available in that country only, may become very popular in the US and elsewhere.  For one thing, .co is the standard abbreviation for "company."   It is also a very common misspelling of .com.  It has been estimated that google.co gets 15,000 hits per day by mistake.   From April 26 until June 10, a window will open in which only registered trademark owners will be able to register their marks in the .co TLD.  Beginning in July, however, .co will be opened to the general public.  We suggest that any companies with registered marks protect those marks in the .co TLD in April, and those that do not should register their call signs, company names or nicknames as soon as possible in July.  If someone else registers your call sign or company name in the .co TLD before you do, it could be very difficult and costly to recover it.

It is difficult to believe that the first .com domain name was registered just 25 years ago this week.  By the end of 1985, only five .com domain names had been registered.   Ten years later there were 120,000 .com domain names.  Now, there are nearly 85 million registered .com domain names.  Beginning sometime next year (2011), ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is expected to allow companies to buy their own TLDs (meaning that your company name could follow the "dot" in a URL), although the cost is expected to be close to $200,000 per TLD.  However, Canon has already announced that it intends to apply for .canon, and it is expected that other large companies will follow suit.Continue Reading New .co Top Level Domain to be Made Available

There’s a new top-level domain name ("TLD") on the block, and broadcasters and other media companies will want to protect URLs that include their call signs, unique slogans and positioning statements or other registered marks or names.  The new TLD will be ".tel."  Unlike .com, .net, .org, and other current TLDs that link to websites, the new .tel TLD is designed specifically for access by mobile devices such as the Blackberry and iPhone and will access to the contact information of the holder of the .tel URL without the need for a standard website.  The theory behind the .tel TLD is to allow instant access to contact information without having to access a registrant’s website.  When contact information is accessed via mobile devices, the telephone numbers will appear as "hot links" that will dial those numbers upon touch or selection.  Of course, links to websites may also be provided, but the primary purpose of the TLD is to provide a global contact directory without the need for the user to have Outlook or other address books or for the registrant to have a website.

Beginning December 3, 2008, anyone with a registered trademark or service mark can register a .tel domain name using that mark for a cost estimated to be in the $500 range.  This so-called "sunrise" period will last for two months.  Beginning February 3, 2009, there will be a so-called "landrush" period allowing anyone to register any unregistered .tel domain names, including generic or descriptive marks or names, such as radio.tel or cable.tel, on a first-come, first-served basis.  (Bad faith use of a third party’s trademark will be subject to cancellation under existing domain name dispute procedures.)  The "landrush" period will last until March 23, 2009, after which the .tel TLD will be generally available to anyone at a much reduced fee, currently estimated to be as low as $1.25 per month.Continue Reading “.tel” Domain Name To Become Available Soon