Law Offices of Olga Zalomiy offers the following domain name related services:
– drafting and negotiation of domain name related agreements;
– protection of trademark owners’ and domain name owners’ rights in domain name litigations and arbitrations;
– advice on choice of domain name.
Frequently asked questions about domain names:
What exactly is a domain name?
A domain name is an address on the internet.
The top-level domain name appears to the right of the dot: .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov, etc. are among the traditional examples and are called generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
Countries also have their own top-level domain names: .ca is Canada, .uk is the United Kingdom, .ug is Uganda, and .tv is the Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu (which reportedly makes at least $2 million per year from licensing its domain name to television-related sites).
ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) recently announced four new top-level domains not written in English letters. These are the Arabic word for “web” or “network,” the Russian/Cyrillic words for “online” and “web site,” and the Chinese word for “game.”
Hundreds more top-level domain names are being considered by ICANN and will soon be available.
Amazon and Patagonia have sought to obtain top-level domains for their names, but are contending with the countries located in the geographic regions associated with those names.
The second-level domain name is to the left of the dot: “Apple” in “Apple.com,” for example. Most legal disputes involve second-level domain names, and when most people say “domain names” they mean second-level names.
How do I get a second level domain name?
Registering a second-level domain name is fast, easy, and cheap – assuming the name you want isn’t already taken. There are close to 1,000 authorized domain name registrars, of which GoDaddy is the largest.
If the name you want is already taken, you may be able to buy it from the person or entity that owns it. You can find out who owns a name by checking WhoIs. A domain name lawyer can help you with the negotiations.
Why should I talk to a trademark lawyer before I register a domain name?
If you’re going to make a significant investment in a website, online presence, and general goodwill and reputation associated with a domain name, you want to know that you’ll be able to keep that domain name long term.
When you try to register a domain name, the registrar will let you know if the name is already being used in that exact form (in which case you won’t be able to register it). However, the registrar will not tell you whether the domain name infringes someone’s trademark.
The result is, months or even years after you register your domain name, establish your website, and build your business you could get a “cease and desist” letter from a company that owns a trademark it claims is infringed by your domain name.
You will then face the decision of whether to give in – and start over again with a new domain name – or fight, run up tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in legal fees… and risk losing the domain name anyway in the end. You might also be required to pay damages equal to the profits you earned by the illegal use of the trademark.
An experienced trademark attorney can reduce your risk by determining whether the domain name you want to use is substantially similar to an existing trademark.
If you have questions about domain name or trademark law, or want us to do a trademark search on a domain name for you, please contact us at 1 (310) 461-3776.