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MYTH: I own the domain so I have a right to the name

I hear this so often when discussing name protection with business clients. Registering a domain name, without more, only prevents others from registering that particular and exact domain. There are many avenues through which to register a business name and some, such as Fictitious Business Name registration, are required by law only to provide a potential party who wants to sue a business with the name of the owner of that business. Failure to register an FBN can increase liability if a business is sued. But fictitious or domain registration may do little or nothing to protect your rights to a particular name, nor do they ensure that your rights have priority over those of others. Rights to a name or trademark accrue by way of use in commerce, that is actually selling a product or service under that name or mark. These rights can be strengthened by registering a tradename or mark. This topic takes us down a rabbit hole of legal analyses and can lead to optimal protection of rights or big problems if it is misunderstood.

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