I’ve got the domain name and Twitter handle for my brand, isn’t that enough?


No! Firstly, just because you have a domain name or social media handle doesn’t give you any right to use the trade mark. Someone else could own the registered trade mark for that name or even just a similar name and that registration could be used to block your use of the domain name. Hence, you should always start by checking you are clear to use a name, then preferably, proceed with registration and secure your domain name(s) and social media handles.

That said, brand uniformity is now a necessity across websites, multi-forum advertising campaigns, and social media platforms. Do you want Joe Bloggs to be running a Twitter account under the name of your brand?

At the same time as running trade mark searches, identify domain names and social media handles that best complement your selected trade mark. This can help your customers easily locate your business online.  Registering your trade mark, domain name and company name can help prevent third parties from hijacking your brand.

But what if somebody “takes” your domain name and social media handle? Well, a trade mark registration can be a valuable weapon in your arsenal under these circumstances.  If you already have the trade mark registration, and the domain name or handle is identical or confusingly similar to your trade mark, then you may be able to ‘reclaim’ the domain name or handle. It is best to try and avoid that by early registration of the various components you need to effectively market your company.

It’s also worth noting that a domain name complaint could be brought under certain circumstance.  This includes for instance ‘cybersquatting’, and a domain being registered in an abusive manner. A trade mark registration establishes the existence of your rights should you need to issue a domain name complaint. Again, far easier than trying to prove that you have unregistered rights established through use of the mark.

A trade mark registered can be a powerful tool for your business in many ways.

Answer last updated: 17 Jan 2018