Domain name serves as an address on the Internet. In the case of our law firm, www.danburylaw.com is the Internet address for the firm's website. In our case, it does not function as a trademark or service mark because we don't use it to identify our law firm as Chipman, Mazzucco, Land & Pennarola, rather we chose it as a convenient and hopefully memorable name that would enable clients and others to find us. In other cases, domain names do function as trademarks. One of the more famous is amazon.com. According to a recent search I performed at the USPTO website, there appear to be thousands of domain names registered. For each registered trademark, the applicant had to provide evidence that the domain name was being used as a source indicator for goods or services.
Should I Try to Register My Domain Name as a Trademark?
The answer to this question really depends on what use you intend to make of it and whether the potential protection that a trademark registration can provide warrants the time and expense. In our law firm's case, had we promoted "danburylaw.com" as a source for legal services, we could have likely obtained a federal registration. There is a good chance (given that our use began in 1998), that we could have prevented the use of danburylawyer.com from its use of the name. Its domain name was created in October 2000. However, given the nature of our practice, that of our colleague at www.danburylawyer.com, there was never a reason to make an issue of our priority.
For some businesses, this will not be the case. A secondary user may be looking to trade on the good name and reputation of the prior user. In that case, federal registration may provide some benefits.