Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Are You Legal? Website Legalities and Avoiding Trademark Infringement

The website legalities are one of the most important and least considered by those building their business on the world wide web or in the brick and mortar world.

It may be hard for some to see the importance. Consider the story of one of my students taking my College Course: Building A Successful Internet Based Business.

Susan (not her real name) came into the class excited and eager to build a business around a concept she had been thinking of for some time. She was even selling T shirts locally with her concept printed on the shirt.

Patiently participating as the course progressed, the time came for researching her site concept. Unfortunately, she had a concept that nobody was looking for, at least at this time.

For her to go ahead would be like erecting a beautiful billboard to advertise her business. The right size to be seen from any and all traffic driving by. Just the right colors. Maybe even killer graphics as eye candy.

The only problem, build a website around a concept that nobody is looking for and you will have a billboard in the middle of a corn field in the middle of the country and barely seen by any traffic driving by. Some will see it. Some will even read it. But it will be very few people.

If your site concept is based on million dollar Turks & Caicos Islands properties, then it does not matter that only a few will see it. One buyer and you could make a years income. For most of concepts, hundreds, even thousands of visitors are needed.

Susan realized she was she was building a billboard in the middle of a wheat field in Kansas and she lived in Pennsylvania. She was passionate about her idea and decided to do it anyway. She felt it was just something that would catch on and she was willing to preserver.

Next, as all the students are instructed, she started looking into the website legalities.

She started by looking into her desired domain name. Starting to do a search of domain names, hers was one that was not registered. By the way, it was a great name.

So far so good.

Next she started to do a search of trademarks. To register a trademark is a process that could cost in excess of $1500. So only people who are serious would peruse this. This is not to say that some will put the TM behind their logo or name to start the process. It is not complete until the R with the circle around it is there.

The first search turned up a result. The domain name she desired was indeed trademarked. Someone had paid the money to get the R with a little circle around it. This is a process requiring a person to have sold a product to two different people who were not relatives, giving a receipt and the logo or trade name in some way part of the sale transaction receipt.

With this last bit of information, she was able to save countless hours of time, effort and work she would have put into a website. She would find she had violated a law protecting the trademark she would have been infringing upon.

She would have to had drastically changed the site or close it down all together.

This is not a matter of changing to a dot org or dot net domain name. The particular choice of words she wanted to use were the trademark.

They were protected by law and could not be used in any way to promote her business as a title, name or designation.

This is only one of the website legalities that needs to be considered. There are others.

Keep your website healthy and keep it legal by making sure to follow the website legalities like avoiding trademark infringement.

Have you complied with the other website legalities?

Jonathan Steele is not a lawyer and this is not intended to replace legal advice. A public speaker, he speaks about and teaches various topics including building successful internet based businesses. He can be contacted through his public speaking site

Article Source:

No comments:

Post a Comment

I thank for the comment!