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Q.Can I register my domain name as a service mark or trademark?

A.Internet domain names that are used in the course of a trade or business to promote the sale of goods or services, and to distinguish the domain name from its competitors may be capable of registration, if the domain name is not deemed “generic” or “descriptive.”

If your company provides a service such as consulting, web design, or legal information, your website probably serves as an electronic brochure advertising your services. The trademark office allows the submission of brochures as evidence of use as a service mark. Therefore, your website could be used as a specimen to register your domain name as a service mark.

However, do not attempt to file the application to register a trademark or service mark yourself. Despite the application’s apparent simplicity, this is not a do-it-yourself project. Why? Because if the legal description of your products or services is incorrect, or too specific, it may be impossible to change it once the application to register a trademark is filed. The United States Patent and Trademark Office maintains strict rules regarding when and if you may alter your original description of your services and/or goods. Improperly completing this portion of the application often results in the abandonment or cancellation of your filing, loss of the initial filing fee ($325), and the need to file a new application. In addition, the deadlines involved in responding to office actions are very strict.

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