Protect your rights, build your brand.
The massive growth of the Internet and eCommerce creates endless opportunities for business owners, but without the right protection, doing business online can also lead to unexpected setbacks. Protecting your rights, the safety of your customers, and your intellectual property in the online marketplace are crucial for your success in the long run.
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The launch of hundreds of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), created new opportunities for online branding. The new gTLD program included well over 1,000 new extensions, including generic terms as well as brand names. With more domain name options for businesses to choose from, the program furthered the need for trademark protection and domain monitoring.
In 2013, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) established a range of Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs). RPMs like Trademark Claims or Sunrise Registrations have been built into the new gTLD program to help trademark holders protect their brands.
What is the Trademark Clearing House (TMCH), and why is it so important?
If you want to establish your brand online, you have to understand the digital landscape. Before buying a domain name or building any kind of web presence, ask yourself, ”How can I protect my product or service within the vastness of the World Wide Web?” The Trademark Clearing House was created to help brands protect their trademarks online while gaining brand recognition at the same time.
Here are the basics:
As the owner of an established trademark, you retain exclusive rights in its use, which also prohibits anyone else from using the same or similar mark to promote their products or services. The TMCH allows trademark owners to register their marks for a small fee. It is an essential strategy for online brand protection and facilitates access to the use of RPMs – which have been built into the program. The TMCH allows trademark holders to validate their mark, and register domain names ahead of the general public during the launch of a new generic domain. It was established as an ICANN-mandated global database to support rights protection for trademark holders. The TMCH verifies and records rights information from all over the world, including registered trademarks, marks protected by statute or treaty, or court validated marks and other trademarks that constitute Intellectual Property rights.
The primary reason to use the TMCH service is for the protection of a company’s brand. Registering with the TMCH shows the trademark holder’s intent to register a domain before someone else does. The lawful trademark owner will receive notifications about upcoming domain releases as well as warnings about potential conflicts. In addition, it accepts and authenticates rights information, while supporting trademark claims and sunrise services.
Benefits of registering your trademark
TMCH services improve the effectiveness of online brand protection and security. As a mandatory pre-launch phase, the Sunrise Service gives a trademark owner the ability to register a domain name that corresponds to the trademark in the chosen gTLD before the public. Depending on the domain registrar, brand owners should receive notice of new gTLDs that are launching. Not all registrars participate in new gTLD launches, which is a benefit of partnering with 101domain – we offer the largest selection of TLDs, anywhere. Sunrise period lasts at least 30 days which gives trademark holders ample time to register their domain name.
Additionally, the Trademark Claims Service provides domain name applicants with notice of a trademark owner’s rights recorded in the TMCH and informs the trademark holder when someone registers the domain name. This service noticeably reduces the incidence of trademark violations.
But what if…
you find out that someone is already using a domain name with your trademark? Here is when the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) comes to the rescue. The ICANN and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) developed the UDRP about 20 years ago, and it’s now one of the most often-used RPMs. It was created to provide a resolution for disputes between a registrant and a third party over the abusive registration of a domain. A UDRP can be filed for gTLDs and some ccTLDs. Instead of relying upon laws, like the trademark statutes, trademark owners can utilize the UDRP for trademark infringement. Filing a UDRP allows for a lower cost, faster resolution, and gives the option to cancel or transfer the domain. If the claim was successful, the trademark holder could ask for the abusively registered domain name to be deleted or transferred.
The purpose of the TMCH is to prevent legal actions altogether. Having your registered trademark validated makes it easier for you to enforce your rights as a trademark owner.
How can I apply?
As the trademark holder, you can submit a trademark record on your behalf or through an official trademark agent, like 101domain, that has been accredited by the ICANN to use TMCH certified trademarks.
We act on behalf of the trademark holder and will submit as well as maintain trademark records. The rules and requirements can be complicated. Choosing to work with a trademark agent will guarantee that application and all documents are pre-validated before the submission to minimize errors.
How can you increase brand recognition?
Your domain portfolio is a powerful branding tool, and most companies already understand the importance and impact of brand control in domain names. The domain name of your business is vital to develop a successful brand and using your brand name as your domain name can help customers or clients to locate your address online. The wide variety of new gTLDs can help you to market your name and your profession at the same time. It has never been easier to acquire a new domain name that suits your specific brand.
Having a registered trademark makes it easier for you to enforce your rights. We will help you protect more than your rights online.
You’ve built your business and your brand. Now how do you secure and protect it? Together, we can establish, grow, and protect your domain portfolio and your online presence.