Organisations can check the use of their corporate trademarks with a global domain name search service offered by Virtual Internet.
The UK-based domain name registrar has put the search application on its Web site, www.vi.net, as a time saver, to help companies check whether a domain name is already being used, or even if someone is using a trademark as a domain without authorisation.
"The Global Name Search Service should be a useful aid to agents seeking to protect trademarks, and I am encouraged by any moves that increase awareness within the trademark community of the importance of considering domain name registration," commented Steve Probert, trademark officer at the UK Patent Office.
The Global Name Search Service checks on the status of a domain name on the extensions such as '.com,' 'net,' and '.int' as well as the country suffixes such as '.co.uk', for 64 different countries. Once a name is entered the search produces a list of available and registered domains using that name, and who the registrar is for the latter.
As a test, a search on the recently disputed name of 'Harrods', which won its domain name by threatening court action last year, showed that 'harrods.net' is also registered - does Harrods know?
Similarly, the recent dispute between a US and a UK company for the 'prince.com' domain name perhaps could have been resolved by one of them switching to the international suffix, 'prince.int', which the VI engine shows is unclaimed.
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