I recently learned that it's not the first person to register a mark that gets ownership, but rather the first person to actually use the mark in commerce that gets ownership.

So what's the best way to establish first use in commerce for an online business, like a blog, where the domain name of the blog is what needs to be registered?

For example if my blog is called bloggd, and the site is up and running, but someone else registers bloggd before I do, what is the best way to prove that I was using bloggd in commerce first?

  • 1
    In all likelihood you cannot trademark a domain name, because it isn't associated tightly enough with a particular good or service, and certainly not one as generic as "bloggd". Similarly, you usually can't trademark a business name. Trademarks and service marks protect brands, not entities or domains. On the other hand, you can use public domain name assignment records to establish first use of the domain name and accounting/banking records to establish first use in commerce. – ohwilleke Jul 24 '17 at 2:54

The best way to establish first use in commerce is to register the mark ASAP after it is used in commerce with a description of its use. Short of that, images of metadata and sales records could be helpful.

But, a website is not a mark.

A mark is an image or phase or both in combination that acquires "secondary meaning" by becoming associated with a particular good or service for which the mark is not merely descriptive or generic. The word "Liquor" to describe an alcoholic beverage isn't a mark because it is descriptive. The word "Liquor" to describe bath soap or a front end loader, probably would be a potential mark.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.