How important is it to choose an original domain name?

Like anyone with a new start-up, you probably understand the important role a website domain plays in your business. If your website garners a great deal of attention, you may stand a chance of expanding your business beyond Manhattan and reaching customers across the country. One step in creating an unforgettable website is the business name you come up with, as well as your domain name and company logo. However, during the course of your business development you should realize the potential legal liabilities of choosing a domain name or trademark that is too similar to another’s, or has other characteristics that may cause your company to be confused for an already established business.

Is it that big of a deal that your company name sounds like another one in a different state? That depends on the nature of your business and any trademarks involved, according to For example, imagine you just started a business called Bob’s Custom Tees. There may already be a Bob’s Custom T-Shirts in another state, which might not pose any problem. However, if you choose a domain name that is too similar to the original Bob’s URL, customers intending to do business with the other company might be misled into ordering from you instead. Not surprisingly, this could lead to a legal dispute, whether your intent was to attract the original Bob’s customers or not.

Therefore, you can see how crucial it is to pick an original name for your company and online domain that your customers can easily attribute to your company and not be confused for another one. You may have more flexibility if your business name is clever in nature and has little or nothing to do with other companies that have similar-sounding names. You may also want to steer clear of choosing a name that is too similar to well-known national or international companies, especially if your new business is in the same field. While this information is intended to give you a general idea on domain and trademark names, it should not substitute for legal advice from an attorney.

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