Domain Names: The ONE Mistake Commonly Made when Registering a Domain
You found the perfect domain name for your business and it's available. You're free to register it, right?
While the name may be available on domain registries, it could easily be owned by another party on the trademark or common-law levels. Prior to registering your domain name, it is strongly advised that comprehensive research be conducted.
It is every business owner's responsibility to ensure that the name they're using is truly available. Don't assume that the name is available simply because you're able to file for the domain.
Comprehensive research includes searching the:
- pending and registered Federal trademark files;
- registered State trademark files;
- national Common-Law files, which includes DBAs, incorporations, product announcements, newspapers, company directories, etc.
Another important area that should be paid attention to is the industry. Completely different industries with the same or similar names should not be an issue to one another. But, of course, like with so many issues dealing with names, there are grey areas and each situation differs from the next.
While there are some free preliminary sites you can search, it's best to leave the comprehensive research to a professional search company or a trademark attorney.
Don't make the mistake of assuming no one else owns your domain name – only comprehensive research will tell you that!