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Studies & Opinions

Show Me You're First!

As I noted in Gutsy New Web Extensions Could Be Very Lucrative!, the financial benefits of registering domain names under these suffixes far outweighs the cost of the registration. With the explosion of renegade new registries creating their own extensions, owners must seriously consider protecting their domain names.

Multiple independently operated registries for the same top-level domain extensions now exist, without a central registry management infrastructure for these new suffixes. Andy Patruzio of Wired News has identified three such independent registrars:, Domain Name systems, and ICM Registry.

This phenomenon does not have a counterpart in the physical world. In the present chaotic environment different entities can own and operate the same cyber real estate domain name, for example: Outside of cyberspace in real estate ownership disputes, two separate buildings cannot occupy the same physical space. Not true in the domain name world!

Until the dust settles as to who is the 'legitimate' custodian of the registry, owners need to protect their intellectual property associated with their domain name.

Keep in mind that owning a domain name doesn't automatically confer ownership of any intellectual property associated with the name. To qualify as a protectable trademark, a domain name must be used in commerce. Thus, being first to register a domain name is not enough. Owners need to have independent evidence that their domain name was active as of a certain date.

TM-it, the guardian of the Whose-TM database, has the safeguard solution. By adding your domain name to the database, two pieces of information are automatically recorded: (1) the time that a domain name was submitted to the database; and (2) if there was an active Website associated with the domain at the time of submission. In the event of an ownership dispute, this information is extremely valuable as evidence of domain name ownership.

One of the major advantages of the solution is the substantial cost savings in legal fees. Ultimately there can be only one DomainMart recognizes that domain owners need protection. DomainMart is currently adding TM-it verification to their domain name registration process