Studies & Opinions
IP Strategists Partnership
November 10, 2007
Domain name owners have been trying to convince the wrong people
regarding the value-adding roles of domain names. Instead of focusing
on advertising agencies and companies, domainers need to partner
with IP strategists. There are two reasons:
Domain-Name IP Strategies
Businesses are “flying blind when
it comes to managing their IP,” and the same is true of
their domain name strategies. If companies still don’t understand
the benefits of an IP strategy—for patents, trademarks, copyrights,
and design—they probably can’t appreciate and manage the benefits
of domain names.
Studies suggest that one of the success factors for IP strategy is genuine involvement
by top-level corporate management in IP-related projects and
discussions. If IP strategists need access to such executives, so do domainers.
Thus, domainers too need to engage such executives.
Domain-name IP management includes two distinct strategies: a vigorous
safeguarding against value-destroying infringements, and the adoption
of a new IP-protection regime based on a cooperative IP relationship
through monetization service providers. The arrangement is analogous to IP leasing. Companies with a large
portfolio of patents grant other companies permission to use some
of them for free, but at the same time the patent holders aggressively
protect their strategic IP.
Why Should IP Strategists Care About Domain Names?
They can make their expertise valuable to an expanding, value-adding market,
that of domain names.
Including domain names as a new intangible-asset class enhances the IP strategists’
value proposition to companies.
What’s in It for Domain Owners?
Provides immediate access to top-level executives at some
Makes it cheaper to find the right business for a given domain name.
Increases awareness and credibility of domain names as a
valuable intangible asset that needs to be protected and used.
Makes it easier to engage ad agencies, with domain names
being used as marketing instruments through ads on parking
sites and mini–Web sites, and through leasing.
 Vinit Bhatia and Gib Carey, “Patenting for Profits,” MIT Sloan Management Review (Summer 2007): 15-16.
 Markus Reitzig, “How Executives Can Enhance IP Strategy
and Performance,” MIT Sloan Management Review (Fall 2007):