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The Name Rush Continues – Trademarks and Domain Names

Ernest Pulgram, a Viennese onomatologist, stated in 1995:
“The name of a man is like his shadow. It is not his substance and not of his soul, but it lives with him and by him. Its presence is not vital, nor its absence fatal.”
This quote emphasizes that a good name is important in life. In many ways, a good name cannot and should not hide a bad product or service, but members of the general population are not always patient enough or careful enough to look past a bad name. I encourage new and existing businesses to take extra care in name selection. Unfortunately, I often see name selection take place with little thought and little effort.
Domain name registrations for the public started in 1993 and since then, the race to find a good domain name has steadily increased. Recently, there was a further round of new top-level domains (TLDs) to help ease the modern-day land rush. Accordingly, there still are many fun and interesting domain names available. A rush for claiming one’s name is nothing new. In 1919, the major telegraph companies in the U.S. established a Central Bureau for Registered Addresses (CBRA) — a single 5-10 lettered code that was required to be “pronounceable” at a cost of $2.50. Unlike the CBRA, the need for a good domain name is not going away soon.
In a similar vein, as recently as 1980, the U.S. Trademark Office only registered about 10,000 trademarks per year. Currently, we apply for over 300,000 registrations per year. This shows that we are very interested in finding and keeping a good name. It is important to find both a good domain name and a good trademark. It is also important to keep in mind the differences between the two. Just because you find available a good domain name, this does not always qualify you to use your trademark without infringing the name rights of someone else. If you have any questions, please seek the help of a trademark and domain name expert.