When it comes to promoting a product or brand online, you feel the need to use the company’s brand or name in your domain or even your set of targeted keywords. The problem is you can get in trouble, so the best thing to do is stay away from using the direct name or brand of the company you are promoting. It is the safest way to make sure you do not get a cease and desist from a law firm.
…. or you can just simply just look it up to be 100% certain.
When it comes to Google Adwords, bidding on trademark terms is a no go with Google. Even smaller merchants that are trademark will watch and even ask you do not compete with their keywords and phrases. Last year and years pass, I received C&Ds for multiple reasons, one being I used a trademark term with my marketing. I remember my first C&D a couple years back, the memories.
There are many companies that will say they are trademark, just so you do not compete with their terms. If you have a domain that has their name or brand, you are technically competing with them and they do not like any competition with their trademark names or brand.
To be specifically certain and to never get a C&D, use this specific site to make sure a company or term is trademarked. Simply go to USPTO.gov and on the homepage click on Search Marks.
The next screen you will simply just chose “Basic Word Mark Search” and the next screen you enter the trademark term in question. You will either get the actual Trademark information or you will get search results. The results may either include your term in a quote or slogan that other companies may have use.
The most interesting part is to see if trademarks expire. The sits gives a lot of information about your search term, when it expired, when it was registered, what the trademark term is about. There is a lot of information to look at.
With the online industry changing rapidly in the past 2 years, this is a good source to have when considering buying a domain, doing your keyword research, labeling an ebook title, etc. It keeps you out of trouble from the law firms and the bigger companies, and believe me sometimes it is a pain to deal with the law firms.
The site also provides a lot about copyrights, patents, IP enforcements, and their social profiles. Definitely browse the other sections which can give you insights about your own brand and company.
Use this site to your marketing advantage, I started heavily using it because I want less C&D in 2011 or to avoid them all together. So before buying that exact match domain, check to make sure you do not have a trademark phrase, brand, or term in it.