The Domain vs. Trademark Dilemma: Which One Should You Register First?

When it comes to building a successful business, one of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to register a domain name or trademark first. On the surface, it may seem like a simple choice, but there are actually a number of factors to consider when making this decision. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons and offer practical advice on how to decide which option is best for your business.

Domain names vs trademarks

First, let’s define what domain names and trademarks are, and explain their main differences. A domain name is the human-readable form of an Internet addresses and is used to locate your website. For example, the <> domain is used to locate Adora IP’s website at A trademark, on the other hand, is an intellectual property right. It offers legal protection for your brand or logo that is used to identify and distinguish your products or services from those of other businesses.

The advantages of registering a domain name first

1. Establishing your brand online

One of the main benefits of registering a domain name first is that it can be a quick and inexpensive way to establish your brand’s presence online. Having a domain name that is easy to remember and spell can help people find your website more easily, and can also help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts. However, a domain name does not offer the legal protection that a trademark does. If you are serious about building a successful business, it is important to consider the long-term implications of not protecting your brand as a registered trademark. A trademark provides you with legal protection, which can be crucial if you ever need to take legal action against someone who is using your name or logo without your permission. And vice-versayou have to make sure you are not infringing upon someone else’s trademark rights before choosing your brand.

2. Quick and cheap

Another benefit of registering a domain name first is that in most cases it is much less expensive and time consuming than registering a trademark – it is instant and costs a few euros if it is available for registration. It can become much more expensive if it is already registered by someone else and you have to buy it from the secondary market. On the other hand, the process of registering a trademark takes several months, and requires the help of a lawyer specialised in intellectual property. The price will also vary depending on the list of goods and services, and the country/region in which you are registering it.

3. Get ahead of cybersquatters

Finally, and most importantly, some businesses actively monitor trademark filings and may attempt to snatch domain names that are identical or similar to trademarks that have been recently filed. We have seen that it is becoming all the more common lately. This practice, known as “cybersquatting”, is when someone registers a domain name with the intent of profiting from another person’s trademark. This can be a major problem for businesses, as it can lead to confusion among customers, damage to a business’s reputation, and even legal disputes. If a business suspects that their trademark has been cybersquatted, they may have to take legal action to reclaim their domain name. This is why it is important for businesses to register the domain name first, as well as be diligent with monitoring potential infringement of their trademark after registration. Trademark registration protects your brand and gives you legal grounds to take action against cybersquatters.

In summary, deciding whether to register a domain name or trademark first is an important decision for any business owner. In our opinion, it is without question that you must register the domain name first or at most simultaneously with filing the trademark. In any case, and irrespective of the order in which you decide to proceed, it is essential to perform a trademark clearance search beforehand. This type of search is handled by an intellectual property expert and will ensure your brand is free to register as both a domain name and trademark, without infringing third parties’ rights.