Smart operators think ahead on IP strategies to protect domain names

    By Kevin Xu, HFG
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    Domain names, as an important part of an enterprise’s intellectual property, have the function of differentiating the origin of goods and services, much like trademarks, and are an important platform for users to contact the enterprise and learn about the enterprise on the internet. Today, where information networks have developed to an astounding degree, the protection of domain names has become a matter of great urgency and enterprises should formulate a strong protection strategy at the earliest possible.

    Comprehensive preparation

    Before opting to register a domain name, an enterprise must carry out a comprehensive review of its trademarks, product names, corporate trade name, numbers, symbols, etc. and select the necessary words to be registered as domain names. This should include:

    • Comprehensively protecting the transliterated forms of its trademarks in Chinese, English and pinyin, e.g. for the “长城” brand, “Greatwall”, “长城” and “Changcheng” may be simultaneously registered as domain names;
    • Registering the Chinese, English and pinyin forms of its corporate trade name or abbreviation of its corporate trade name as the main part of domain names, e.g. “中粮集团”, “中粮”, “Zhonglianggroup”, “Zhongliang”, etc.;
    • Product names, i.e. the unregistered trademarks or important sub-brands that the enterprise uses in the course of its business, and proprietary names of certain goods;
    • Numbers and symbols that have clear directionality, e.g. China Mobile’s No. 10086.

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    Kevin Xu is a trademark lawyer at HFG in Shanghai

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