Examine Trademark, Patent And Copyright In Your Domain.
A lot of webmasters are in hot spot as a result of trademark, patent, and copyright issues. It’s because many of them are careless during the web domain registration process, and they failed to check domain names that are copyrighted by owners, patented, or trademarked by brands and companies. As a result, many of them in ended up in costly legal battles that would have been prevented by a simple trademark or domain name check at the start. So don’t commit the same mistake as these incautious web owners did. Legal problems will definitely give you a headache that is not only stressful but quite costly, as well.
A Little About Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights
Before anything else, it is important to define copyright, patent, and trademark, as well as what distinguishes one from the others. These terms are commonly confused, and many people are thinking that they are all the same to the point that these terms are widely interchanged for the same meaning. While they are a bit similar in some ways, they are actually different in many other ways. So, to clear out the confusion once and for all, it is best to define each term for a better understanding of their differences.
Trademarks are words or symbols that make products unique that greatly distinguishes them from the rest, more particularly from the competitor brands. Take note that trademarks are only applicable for products. For services, they are termed as servicemark, which also serves the same purpose except that it distinguishes the source of the services provided for by the service providers, or by the company. To refer to both trademark and servicemark, the term ‘mark’ is normally used.
It is important to keep in mind that trademarks only protect the name of the brand or product, but it does not prevent competitor companies from manufacturing similar products. Another important fact about trademarks is that the main purpose of trademarks is to protect brand names from being used by others to identify their products.
Patents work the same way as trademark with retrospect to usage of the trademarked name. However, patent is actually different in terms of how products are manufactured or built. Patents protect manufacturers from imitation by competitors for a certain period of time. Thus, a patent expires. After the expiry of the patent, other brands can start building or manufacturing similar products and label them under their brand name. In the United States of America, the term of the patent is normally 20 years, and patents provide the rights that exclude others from manufacturing similar products using exactly the same procedures or ingredients.
As the term implies, copyrights are similar to trademarks but a major difference is that copyrights protection for contents instead of products. Therefore, you cannot trademark or patent contents; instead, you can copyright them to protect your written works from being copied by others.
Based on the above definitions, patents, copyright, and trademarks are rights granting protection to owners. But they are used based on what is being protected. For products and services, trademarks are used. Trademarks refer to brand names, designs, and logos. While patents refer to the process used to manufacture or create products. On the other hand, copyrights are used for contents, protecting them from being reproduced, from massive distribution, and from being copied.
Applying these Terms in Domain Registration
Since domains are names, then what applies is trademark since this grants the owner the right the exclude others from registering the branded name with trademark. But when it comes to web contents, then copyrights must be taken into due consideration. Therefore, a trademark search must be done when you check domain names during the web domain registration. This simple procedure can save you a lot of trouble ahead.