An interesting point of view on new gTLD’s, trademarks and .com registrants was published today by Cybrands.com
Basically the author of the post is claiming that owning a .com can be better protection against potentially infringing new gTLD domain names than a trademark.
He calls it the .com firewall:
“In computing terms, firewall has many definitions.”
In domaining terms, what I’m referring to is the practice of registering the .com version of a domain name which can effectively quash incentive for anyone to register any other version of that particular name.”
The fact is that there are several practical advantages and inherent rights protections that are in play that are built into the fabric of owning and using a .com domain name for business purposes. :
Is owning the .com version (and using the name in commerce) of a particular domain name a rights protection strategy unto itself that you could employ. ”
Even possibly equal to or better than a registered trademark?
First of all, as far as your intellectual property rights are concerned. If you own a .com domain name and you use it in commerce you have very likely established common law trademark rights to that name.
According the the USPTO “businesses automatically receive common law trademark rights in the normal course of commerce.”
Common law trademarks are something that I like to call a “usemarks.”
The term “common law” indicates that the trademark rights that are developed through use are not governed by statute. Instead, common law trademark rights have been developed under a judicially created scheme of rights governed by state law. Federal registration, a system created by federal statute, is not required to establish common law rights in a mark, nor is it required to begin use of a mark.
Now if course, registered trademarks are usually more powerful than common law trademarks, however, not necessarily and there is case law to prove that.
My main point has to do with the inherent value of owning the .com version of your domain name or website.
First of all this is the definition of “inherent” from Dictionary.com:
existing in someone or something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute: an inherent distrust of strangers.
Here are a few related points:
If you own the .com version of a name, the name is not likely (highly unlikely) trademarked by another party.
The reasons are that if the name were trademarked by another entity you likely would have never been able to register it- or you would have already been asked to cease using it.…