Starting An Online Business
Registering Domain Names Part 1: Trademarks and Domain Names
By Paul D. McGrady, Jr., Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig / Author, McGrady on Domain Names

One of the things that the start-up business needs to do to get on the web is to register their domain name. There are two things that the business needs to think about — what name are they going to register and which registrar are they going to use?

Choosing a domain name is the one that’s the most fraught with peril. New businesses will often times not spend the money that they need to do to clear a trademark. They’ll also register a domain name that corresponds to the trademark name they’ve adopted — which means that, later down the road, if they end up stepping on someone’s toes, in addition to having a trademark infringement problem, they’ll find they have a cyber-squatting claim on their hands as well.

Before you register a domain name, you need to get the domain name and the underlying trademark for your business cleared by your trademark attorney. They’ll do a search of all the records in the United States, and they’ll come back to you with an opinion and they’ll say, yes or no, it’s available for use or it’s not available for use.

When you’re thinking about what trademark you want to adopt, I think it’s important to find out whether or not the “easy” domain name is going to be available. So, if your business name is Acme and you’re going to be selling shoes, you might want to go out and check if “Acmeshoes.com” is available because “Acme-shoes.com” or “AcmeShoesOfCleveland.com” is harder for the consumer to remember.

Paul D. McGrady, Jr., is a shareholder with Greenberg Traurig, LLP in the Chicago office. Mr. McGrady concentrates his practice in the intersection between intellectual property and information technology, with special emphasis on domain name disputes, online copyright disputes, online identity theft, and Internet fraud prevention and recovery. He is a veteran of nearly 200 successful proceedings under the Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution Procedure (“UDRP”), as well as formal and informal dispute mechanisms in other jurisdictions, including China, the United Kingdom, Poland, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Romania, among others. He also served as the Director of Operations for a start-up domain name registrar, for which he was able to obtain accreditation by ICANN. He is an active member of both INTA and the Intellectual Property Constituency of ICANN.

To learn more, join McGrady for a complimentary LexisNexis® Webinar: The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting an Online Business, on June 14, 2011, at 2:00 pm Eastern Time. To learn more about the webinar or register click here.