Clients often inquire about whether they need to purchase every variation (e.g.
, misspellings) of their domain names used for their websites in order to prevent others from infringing their trademarks. The short answer is no. Indeed, there is no requirement to purchase any domain names at all. Generally speaking, in the U.S., trademark rights are acquired through use. As long as you have superior trademark rights, you can approach owners of confusingly similar domain names about trademark infringement.
However, this is not the most cost effective approach. It will surely cost a company much more to hire outside counsel to pursue any infringers than paying the annual fees for the most obvious variations of the domain name used for its primary website. Read a discussion
on the issue.
While it may not be feasible for a company to register a multitude of variations for all of the domain names that it owns, it should consider adopting this approach with regard to the primary domain names (e.g.
, the domain name used for its primary website) used in connection with its business. An ounce of prevention in this regard goes a long way toward minimizing future business distractions and keeping a company’s legal bills down.