Protecting your domain name, how important is it?

Many people think they are protecting their domain name if they have registered it. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true. In this article, we explain what you can best do to protect your domain name.

Protecting a domain name

Protecting your domain name is very important, because if you don’t, someone else can run with it, to the detriment of your carefully built good reputation.

Registering your domain name does not necessarily mean that it is protected. It is important to also register your trademark right away at the “Benelux trademark registration”. If you forget to do this and someone else does register your trademark or product name as a Benelux trademark, he can even claim your domain name. This applies even if the trademark registration occurred later than the domain registration. In fact, mere registration with the Chamber of Commerce is also not enough, as long as there are no commercial business activities.

Trademark registration

Domain names are often product or company names protected only by trademark registration. Without trademark registration, your (domain) name is free for others to use, who in turn can take advantage of your reputation. This person or organization can therefore even prohibit you from further use of your product or company name, and that can be costly.

What if my domain name is used by someone else?

Conversely, you can also challenge it if you come across a domain name that corresponds to your domain name, but has a different extension, for example. If it concerns a .nl domain name, you can contact the
Foundation for Internet Domain Registration in the Netherlands
(SIDN). They will take your petition and forward it to the opposing party. First, a specialist from SIDN will try to work with both parties to find an (intermediate) solution.

If there is no resolution, then a ruling by the dispute resolution judge follows. If you win, you get that domain name and if you lose, you can still fight this out in court, but that process takes much longer. A procedure through SIDN is fairly quick and takes about 2 to 4 months. However, you are only regulating that someone may not use “your” domain name, but not a prohibition on the use of the name or trademark, nor damages.

So always make sure you also register your brand or product name as soon as you claim your domain name.

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