I get emails from Domainers every week with huge lists of domains. As I’ve said before, I do respond to every single email my readers send me so I look at these lists and provide my honest, albeit quick, opinion. More and more I’m seeing new Domainers submit large lists of domains jam-packed with Trademark infringements.
I would say that about 99% of the time they don’t even know about Trademark infringement or the host of legal ramifications that come with it. Just the other week someone sent me a list with hundreds of names all with the name of a major software company in the domain. I had to break the bad new to them and let them know that their portfolio of “Premium” domains, was sadly a portfolio of high-risk Trademark names!
Lucky for all of us there are a few easy ways to check if the domain or website you are looking at buying contains any potential Trademark violations.
- Automated Tools – you can do a quick check using tools like Estibot, Valuate, or our new Website Appraisal Tool – Appraiso
- Do It Yourself – did you know that you can actually search the government Trademark database for free online? Just go to USPTO.gov and select “Trademark Search” from the “Trademark” menu at the top. You can then enter the words in the domain name or website you would like to buy and make sure they are not infringing on any existing Trademark.
- Hire A Lawyer – if you think a domain or website might be infringing on a Trademark but aren’t sure, that’s when you should hire a lawyer. Especially when it comes to making a large purchase you want to make sure that you are buying an asset, not a liability.
So next time you see a great domain that you think would be the perfect addition to your portfolio, take a second to make sure if doesn’t infringe on any existing Trademarks. If you are worried about people buying or registering domains with your own Trademark in them I highly recommend the Monitoring Services offered by Domain Tools.
Take the time, every time, and you’ll never have to worry about Trademark issues again!