Domain Name Registration

An important step for any new business is obtaining a domain name that will serve as the online address for the company and a destination for customers and other business partners seeking information about the company.  Responsibility for assignment of IP addresses, registration of associated domain names, creation and management of Top-Level domain name systems (TLDs) and general oversight of the operation of the Internet domain name server system has been vested in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN"). ICANN is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes. Among other things, ICANN is responsible for accrediting registrars of domain names. In addition, ICANN takes the lead in creation of new TLDs.

There are several types of TLDs.  TLDs with two letters (e.g., .ca, .jp, and .mx) have been established for almost every country and external territory around the world and are referred to as "country-code" TLDs.  Each country-code TLD has its own manager who is responsible for operating the domain in a way that takes into account the specific economic, cultural, linguistic, and legal factors in the particular geographic area.  Most of the TLDs that have three or more characters are referred to as "generic" TLDs (gTLDs).  Seven gTLDs (.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org) were created in the 1980s—three of them (.com, .net, and .org) were available for registration and use without restriction and the other four could only be used for limited purposes.  Seven new gTLDs (.biz, .info, .name, .pro, .aero, .coop, and .museum) were introduced in 2001 and 2002.  Three of these (.aero, .coop, and .museum) are sponsored top-level domains which are specialized an overseen by a sponsor that represents the narrower community that is most impact by the gTLD and is responsible for formulating operational policies for the gTLD.  The operational policies for unsponsored domains are set by the global Internet community acting through the processes established by ICANN.  ICANN continuously solicits and evaluates applications additional gTLDs and new gTLDs that have gone live during the last few years include .cat, .jobs, .mobi, and .travel.

In general, a domain name is comprised of a second-level domain, a "dot," and a TLD.  The wording to the left of the "dot" is the second-level domain, and the wording to the right of the "dot" is the TLD.  For example, if the domain name is "XYZ.COM," the term "XYZ" is a second-level domain and the term "COM" is a TLD.  The organization that is responsible for a particular TLD—the sponsor or registry operator—must establish and maintain a registry of the second-level domains within the TLD.  In general, domain names should be descriptive of the business they are associated with and easy to remember. Proposed domain names can be quickly checked for availability using various free online databases, such as

Domain names may infringe the trademark or tradename of another business if there is a likelihood of confusion, mistake, or deception in the relevant market. To minimize the possibility of an infringement action, federal and state trademark searches should be performed for all potential domain names. Trademark Electronic Search System (Tess) is a service available on the Patent and Trademark Office’s web site that provides a searchable database of trademarks. This free database provides a means for performing a fast, high level search for trademarks that may be the same as or similar to a client’s prospective domain name. This service should not, however, be used as a substitute for a thorough trademark search performed by a professional trademark search company.

Once a domain name is chosen, the name should be registered, if possible, as a trademark or service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO"). Domain names may be registered with the PTO provided they are actually in use as trademarks or service marks, and not merely as addresses. In September 1999, the PTO issued guidelines to its trademark examiners for the evaluation of applications to register domain names. Examination Guide No. 2-99 is available on the PTO’s Website at Because clients may be conducting business internationally through their Websites, registration of the domain names in foreign jurisdictions should also be considered.

The content in this post has been adapted from material that will appear in California Transactions Forms: Business Transactions (Fall 2008) and is presented with permission of Thomson/West.  Copyright 2008 Thomson/West.  For more information or to order call 1-800-762-5272.

26 thoughts on “Domain Name Registration

  1. gladstone brookes

    With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any ways to help protect against content from being ripped off? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  2. natwest ppi

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after going through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!

  3. Build Muscle Fast

    I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I’m quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  4. Normand

    What’s up i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this article i thought i could also create comment due to this brilliant post.

  5. Rapid Eye Reduction

    Somebody necessarily lend a hand to make seriously articles I’d state. That is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this particular post amazing. Wonderful job!

  6. Adrenalast Muscle

    It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read even more things about it!


    Usually I don’t read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice post.

  8. Seo Company Review

    When I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I receive four emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service? Thank you!


    I am extremely impressed together with your writing skills and also with the structure on your weblog. Is that this a paid subject or did you customize it your self? Anyway stay up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to look a nice blog like this one these days..

  10. Adriana

    Just wish to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your put up is simply spectacular and i could assume you are knowledgeable in this subject. Fine along with your permission let me to snatch your RSS feed to keep updated with drawing close post. Thank you one million and please carry on the enjoyable work.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s