Before registering a trademark, you need to understand what a brand is and how it affects your business. A brand is a name, logo or slogan that differentiates a company from its competitors. Customers remember businesses based on their experience with specific brands. Good branding helps to provide positive customer experiences and boosts trust of your brand. It is vital in a constantly growing world of e-commerce to have good branding to ensure regular traffic.
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Why is branding important?
When customers interact with your brand, they can either increase or damage the trust already built. This depends heavily on their experience with your brand, both in the past and present. Therefore, it is vital that customers have good experiences to encourage repeat business. Fast and reliable UK hosting is one key to building your brand. In fact, slow and unreliable web hosting leads to negative customer experience. Well, take your experience for example, would you sit around and wait for a website to load after 10 seconds? Sluggish and under maintained websites damage your brand’s online presence.
How do I select my brand name?
Your brand is the face of your company. Therefore, when registering for UK hosting, selecting an appropriate brand name is critical to your success. Remember your brand is the first thing customers interact with be it online or offline. So, it needs to stand out in the relevant market amongst a horde of other competing websites on the internet. It is important to ensure your brand name is unique and not universal! For example, if your business focuses on selling keyrings bad name examples would be “keyrings” or “keychains” these names are insufficient. Why? Well, they are pretty universal if you haven’t noticed. The terms are key descriptive words for the product which competitors already use. In Product titles and product descriptions, this means your domain is highly unlikely to appear in search results.
Trademarking a universal word as a brand is almost impossible. So, when brainstorming, try to avoid vague words that are actively used by other competitors within the market. We suggest you spend time brainstorming potential names for your website.
If you need a push start, you can check out this article for tips on how to search for the best domain names for your website/brand.
If the domain name you desire is currently taken we suggest reading this article on “My domain name is taken”. It will help you find and secure the right domain name that does justice to your brand. Once you have selected your brand’s name, it is important to register the desired domain with a reputable registrar or webhosting company. Once registered we highly recommended that you take advantage of these free domain protection strategies.
4 Domain Protection Strategies you can employ
1. Actively search for websites that infringe your trademark. To do this, try conducting regular searches for your brand and common spelling mistakes. Once you detect a domain that is infringing your trademark by using your brand you can report the website. It is important to register as many gTLDs associated with your website to optimise your domain privacy. For a successful appeal against another domain infringing your rights, you will need to prove the domain is indeed infringing on your trademark.
2. Trademark your brand with TMCH. Registering your trademark with trademark-clearinghouse (TMCH) ran by ICANN is a form of domain protection strategies. ICANN coordinate the domain name system (DNS) matching domains with the correct IP address associated to the server. Registering with trademark-clearinghouse will put your trademarked domain in the ICANN system. Upon another domain registering using your trademark ICANN’s system automatically detects and notifies you giving you the option to take action. Due to time saving abilities this service is extremely useful, reducing the time spent searching for infringing domains ensure your brand is not damaged.
3. Register other domains related to your brand to ensure domain privacy. For example, if your brand name is “bloomingbuds” which focuses on selling flowers then can register “bloomingbuds.com” “bloomingbuds.co.uk” and on any other domains to ensure your brand name can not be stolen by competitors.
4. Register any spelling mistakes: Customers visiting your site have the potential to make spelling mistakes which can redirect to a malicious page. To prevent this, we recommend registering common spelling mistakes within your brand as domains for example “blomingbuds.com” “bloomngbds.co.uk”. This ensures domain privacy which prevents brandjacking.
What is BrandJacking?
Brandjacking is a method used where someone claims to be a brand in order to trick and deceive potential customers. An example of brandjacking would be the domain, “mycupcakes.com” who sells cupcakes. A brandjacker could clone the website, register a similar domain like “myupcakes.com” or “mycupcakes.co.uk”. Unsuspecting customers who visit the fake sites would have no clue. Worse yet, they could believe they were shopping on the original site and have a high potential of falling victim to fraud. If this was to occur, the customer would lose all faith and trust in the brand “mycupcakes.com” without even being aware of the brandjacking incident.
This has real and huge consequences for individual customers and the businesses involved damaging their reputation affecting conversion rates. A quick solution could be to register all the domains associated with your brand. Though, this could be potentially costly for small brands, and it could prevent brandjacking and ensure good domain privacy practices.
How will Brexit affect me?
When the UK pulls out of the EU on Friday 29th of March 2019 there will be effects to domains and trademarks for both the UK and EU citizens. UK trademarks will no longer be recognised within the EU in contrast EU trademarks will no longer be recognised within the UK. Therefore, we highly recommend registering your trademark in both the EU and UK market before Brexit. This will prevent any issues caused by a potential “no-deal Brexit“.
Unfortunately, UK residents will no longer have access to registering .eu domains as the domain is reserved for EU citizens only. For UK residences with .eu domains we recommend transferring the domain to a eu-subsidiary. An eu-subsidiary simply put is a company registered with a EU address. We recommend you take action before 29th of March 2019 to prevent potential negative ramifications from a potential no-deal Brexit.