Paul Edels, Solicitor, Morecrofts' Commercial Team; Advertising Feature Intellectual Property Rights
ONE area of growing concern for small businesses in the world of intellectual property rights is the relationship between domain names and registered trademarks.
This year will, most likely, see the biggest expansion of domain name suffixes since the dawn of the internet. With reportedly 1,000 new, top-level domain suffixes to be added to the current and rather limited list of around 30, the chances of a conflict will grow exponentially.
Global brands have a tendency to snap up domain names similar to (or the same as) their brand name and either point them to their own site or create localised versions for country-specific websites.
The explosion of suffixes poses two interesting questions.
Firstly, will these global brands feel the need to register hundreds of new domains to protect their interests? Secondly, will this lead to a spate of David-and-Goliathlike disputes when domain names and registered trademarks clash? Trademarks are not just a luxury to be enjoyed by corporate giants, they can equally equip the Davids of the commercial world with a legal slingshot that could easily floor Goliath just like the biblical story. …