It isn’t uncommon for websites to put a copyright notice on their site or a statement regarding use of content. However, as the internet starts running out of original domain names, trademark infringement is liable to become a major concern.
The case of trademark infringement can be simple. The standard of infringement is the likelihood of confusion between one product or company and another. The greater the likelihood of confusion, the more likely trademark infringement is taking place. I had the opportunity to speak with Perry Clegg, a trademark attorney, in Dallas, Texas. When it comes to trademark infringement on blogs, Perry said, “When the amount of bloggers, hoping to capitalize financially on their blogs, increases, so does the motivation for trademark infringement.” Something about his statement struck me as odd– the word motivation. I decided to do some research and realized how possible trademark infringement or related lawsuits could be. The situation could present itself like this.
Lets say someone really wants to start an outdoor recreation blog, named Rock Runner. When they go to purchase the domain Rockrunner.com, they find out it is currently registered by someone in Louisiana and they want $1000 dollars for the domain name. Instead of using Rockrunner.com they purchase the name Rock-Runner.com. Over the next several years they develop rock-runner into a major outdoor website.
A couple years after Rock-runner is started, a company that sells trail -running shoes, buys the domain name Rockrunner. They start to have a lot of success with their website. Both domain names are similar and both deal with outdoor recreation. The owner of Rock -Runner could file a lawsuit regarding trademark infringement. Whether it would be successful or not, is up to the judge. However, without trademark protection, it may be harder to prove. If you are making money from your blog, a trademark dispute could cause you to lose your domain name and a source of income.
Many blogs may not benefit from trademark protection. However, if you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may want to check into trademarking your blog.
- Does your blog name have significant value to you or would you be willing to give up the name without remorse if another blogger or online business threatened you to change the name?
- Do expect to monetize your blog either through acceptance of paid ads, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, or other revenue models?
- Do you plan to use your blog for business, commercial, or branding purposes?
- Are you concerned about copycat bloggers or would you be bothered if someone else began a blog or website using a similar name to your blog name?
If you did answer yes to any of those questions, you should trademark your blog. Its not as hard as it appears. There are lots of great self -help services available online, including a free trademark application program.