Marketers will soon be able to run a combined trademark and website name search, using a new service being launched by NetNames, the online domain name search and registration site.
NetNames’ new facility – Trademark Search Service – will allow users to combine NetNames’ existing free worldwide domain name availability check with the option to run a trademark check at the same time. It is apparently the first such service to allow brand owners to run such a combined check. The service will also enable companies to see whether there is any likely competition for any .eu domain name applications they are making.
NetNames chief operating officer Jonathan Robinson says the service “will enable companies to check that their desired brand and product names are both available as domain names and do not infringe existing EU and US trademarks before investing in registering the name and commencing marketing of their new websites.”
The Trademark Search Service will check searched domain names against pending and registered trademarks listed on the US federal trademark database (USPTO) and the European Community Trademark database (CTM) for any possible infringements. NetNames will flag any potential trademark infringements for a selected domain name or similar key words. If there is a possible conflict, details of the trademark holder will be available to searchers at a charge.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation “cybersquatting” domain name and associated trademark disputes reached a four-year high last year. The WIPO reports that cases rose by 20% in 2005, with 1,456 reported cases of cybersquatting.