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Studies & Opinions

Protect Name Value

Alex Tajirian
March 2001

Names you use in commerce are very valuable assets that you need to protect. A domain name is sometimes used as an Online Name identifying a registered user of an i-mall or auction. However, keep in mind that a domain name in itself does not automatically confer a trademark on the domain name. The trademark has to be used in commerce to qualify as common-law trademark (TM). Protection of your domain name is even more important if it does not end with dot-com, which suggests that someone else registered the same name ahead of you. (Typically, dot-net and dot-org are registered when the dot-com has already been registered.) 

Moreover, if you are a registered user on an auction site or provide consulting services on sites like, you need to protect your Online Name, which is your online identity. You don't want others to be using your identity on another site. 

Using an Online Name in commerce gives you the right to register it as a Trademark.

For information on trademarks, see