How do I trademark a website name? Does the registering
person have to be a business?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
Is registration of my mark required?
No. You can establish rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark. However, owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several advantages, e.g.,
- constructive notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark;
- a legal presumption of the registrant's ownership of the mark and the registrant's exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration;
- the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
- the use of the U.S registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries; and
- the ability to file the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.
More information here:
The US trademark though would come in handy in that you could file a WIPO dispute should someone attempt to use your trademark in a domain.
The State trademarks cost around $50. Which would give a little protection. But I believe that you need to be a business entity to register a State trademark. As opposed to the US trademark where a person can register.
That's what I have always done.I've been thinking of just using the mark and going with common law rights of prior usage.
I'm thinking though of not branding the site and put up banners from other sites. The domain was dropped in 2006 and I've had it for a few years. It still has the original trust and authority from the prior use. The original owners had the site since 2001 and after the site dropped they continued to have site wide links to it. The using the same niche and have been able to rank on keywords with only minor linkbuilding.
So that's where I've been kicking the idea of trademarking the name before I pimp it out.