What every online business owner needs to know about trademarks and Intellectual property

Trademarks and Intellectual PropertyHaving a website is probably one of the best things a business can invest in today. As such, it’s not uncommon to find a business that is forced to change its names just to be sure that a corresponding domain name is available for it. It’s for this reason that acquiring a domain name even before setting up your business is highly recommended.

Searching and purchasing a perfect domain name has never been easier especially now that registrars are everywhere.
Besides, setting up a website has also been made easier due to the availability of numerous affordable drag-and-drop website building services.
On top of that, there are a host of online payment services to choose from which makes the process of having a functional site up and running extremely easy and fast.

However, in all this, it’s important for you to ensure that you don’t overlook several vital points as listed below.

1. Trademarks

Getting a perfect domain for your business can prove to be a difficult task which is why you might be tempted to jump on any that comes close to your preferred name.
However, this might be problematic. Harsh as it may sound, you might own the domain but still fail to get a trademark over that particular name.

This is why you should be keen about trademarks
To be on the safe side when looking and settling for a particular name for your domain/business, ensure to countercheck against records available at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This helps you clear all doubts that someone else might be running another business using the name you’ve selected.
However, that is not all. Try to also conduct a broad internet search for the name which should give you an idea of whether anyone else could be using a domain name related to yours. If you find companies or business using your potential name while having a TM symbol on the name, then choose an alternative name or seek professional advice.

Remember that trying to change extensions of a domain name that already has a trademark will also not help. This is the same reason you cannot run a business with a domain such as Google.biz because Google has patented all domain names with the name “Google” regardless of the extension used.

2. Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property
If you thought that having a trademark name and domain name is all you need, you’re dead wrong. This is because what you place on your website thereafter is also subject to originality checks. As such, you will need to come up with creative content that does not infringe other people’s property rights. This means that anything you use on your website should be developed by you and if you have to use other people’s work/content, you’ll need to always give attribution to them. Google and other search engines are very strict when it comes to stealing other people’s work and will thus punish you heavily if you decide to take that route.

For example, if you’re using other people’s pictures, videos, texts, or drawings on your website, it’s only noble that you get permission from them first while also ensuring that you’ve given them credit. As such, the owner may decide to ask for a licensing fee for the item you want to use while others will allow you to use them freely.

To learn more about the various licensing agreements to expect, visit creativecommons.org.
At this point, you’re probably excited about the prospect of running your online business. This is where the main task lies.
As such, you will need to begin churning out content that attracts visitors to your site.
Besides, you will also need to market your content, tweak the site’s design, and all other things that entail running an online business.

If you found it difficult to avoid stealing the work of others and getting a domain name that is free from trademark issues, then you might as well realize how draining it can get to ensure others do not steal from you as well.


Running an online business, like all other forms of entrepreneurship, will not come easy. As such, it calls for hard work, concentration, and a zeal to succeed. This is why taking time to ensure that you’re on the right side of the law as far as trademark and intellectual property rights is concerned will pay off in the end.

To learn more about the topics discussed here, remember to consult an attorney or tax professional who will give a more comprehensive guide that fits your specific legal and tax situation.

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