Direct Marketing, Mail Order, and E-commerce News from the National Mail Order Association


Why Trademark a Domain Name?

We all know hindsight is 20/20. In the Internet world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) domain names
can play a major role of improving your URL's ranking in search engine results. If you are prudent enough to
define and secure a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) address that includes a very imaginative name or
conveys the nature of what products and/or services your company provides, it can allow the opportunity
and advantage to secure a trademark or service mark for that domain name.

What is a Trademark or Service Mark?

Quoting "A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination
thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A
service mark is similar to a trademark but is distinguished in that it identifies and distinguishes the source
of a SERVICE rather than a product." This definition also applies when trademarking a domain name:
The domain name must identify and distinguish the goods and/or services of one party from those of others.

A trademark name, symbol or design is followed by the Federal Registration symbols TM, SM or "".
Rights to and control of a trademark can be maintained indefinitely, but you must periodically file an
Affidavit of Continued Use or Excusable Nonuse and the Application for Renewal. You must also
continue to use the mark in conjunction with the same product or service indicated when you had
initially applied for the trademark. 

Why Trademark Your Domain Name, and How Much Does It Cost?

Trademarking a domain name can be very positive to image and advertising. Advantages include: 

The Federal Registration symbol, "", adds an air of distinction and enhances the image and staying
power of a company and its website.           

A distinctive domain name can eventually develop monetary value, translating into equity from the fixed
assets of your balance sheet. A classic example is That domain name is distinctive, readily
recognized and presents monetary value to its owners.           

Trademark registration protects your domain name from being used by others, and is typically
adjudicated under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act or through arbitration of the
Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). 

If your approved trademark also includes a URL extension, like, you can also control
the use of your website's hyperlinks from other websites.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) charges $375.00 to register a trademark.
It is important to complete the registration application correctly and accurately to avoid rejection. can assist you with preparing the application and ensure that it is completed
correctly for only $99.00 significantly lower than what attorneys charge. If you would like to assist you with the trademark application, please visit

It is also recommended that prior to attempting to register a trademark with the USPTO, you first
conduct a Comprehensive Trademark Search. A search can be extremely beneficial in determining
the availability of your trademark. A Comprehensive Trademark Search can provide you with
information regarding registered marks, marks that are currently pending with the USPTO, marks
that are registered or pending on state databases, as well as common law marks (which include, for
example, company/business names, DBAs, industry information regarding businesses, etc.). A
comprehensive Trademark Search is an enormous task, and attorneys generally charge several
hundred dollars for such searches., on the other hand, can perform a
comprehensive search for just $199.00. For more information, please visit 

Domain Name Trademark Caution

Do not make the mistake of thinking that once you secure a domain name it is only a matter of
conducting a search and then filing for trademark status. Common, descriptive terms like "executive"
or "business plan" do not qualify. A generic name or term that describes a service or product is
insufficient. The domain name needs to be distinctive. For a comprehensive list of what will typically
be rejected, view the Trademark Application Rejections page. 

First Things First

Before moving to secure a trademark, especially if your company is new to the Internet, give serious
thought to the domain name you wish to secure. Read the Trademark FAQ's. Consider the
distinctiveness of the name. Be certain it doesn't fall under the categories of rejection noted above.
When you are ready go to the domain name search page and if the domain name is available, you
can then register for one year or more. If you have any questions go to's Live Help


U.S. Patent & Trademark Office


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