shutterstock_146760890 (1)Domains, along with trademarks and other Intellectual Property (“IP”), can be powerful tools for creating value for your business. These are commercially valuable assets that help make-up your business brand.  Yet, many businesses that willing spend a small fortune in registering trademarks and marketing problematic domains, inexplicably balk at making an investment in a premium domain name.  This is myopic thinking about the business brand. Businesses should always take premium domains into consideration when strategizing about company assets because they are similar to IP.

The need for business owners to promote and protect their brands has resulted in domain names becoming closer to trademarks, even though these are two very different things.  Both are business identifiers, but only trademarks are recognized as tangible ‘origin’ symbols of a brand, i.e. real property. On the legal landscape, jurisdictions are split when it comes to finding that domains are property and a recent court ruling found that they are contractual rights.  Additionally, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) has consistently held the position that domains are not property. There are exceptions to this, because sometimes domains can be protected as trademarks depending on the country.

Even if domains were never legally found to be real property in the tradition sense of protectable IP, the fact remains that they are investments just like physical property and are closely related to IP.  Similar to physical property, location matters when it comes to domains.  Businesses that are serious about growth invest in the best domains for their business. They understand that cutting corners is not an option as it costs more in the long run, limits opportunity.

Businesses should strive to have their domains and trademarks mirror each other as much as possible for effective branding in the digital age.  Both are important tools in the process of developing a brand image and value for the business.

Tracy Fogarty

Founder & CEO at eNaming
With over 20 years in the brokerage business, Tracy Fogarty has helped thousands of clients achieve their goals on both sides of the negotiation table. Creative and result oriented professional, Ms. Fogarty strives on honest communication, value proposition, the big picture perspective, and bottom-line profitability.