In the age of the millennial, many forms of work occur via the internet. This does not only refer to social media content creators but individuals with online stores providing both products and services. To traditional businesses from previous generations, where brick-and-mortar locations were essential, the brand they created would be trademarked as this provided value to the company. A trademarked brand holds financial value to the company and business owners were able to leverage its present and future value when negotiating contracts. Today not only does a trademark hold value but especially the domain name registered in conjunction with it.
A domain name system is similar to an IP address, but instead of numbers to identify the web address, letters are used to make it more user-friendly. An example of a domain name is that of www.bbplaw.attorney. In South Africa, domain names may either be registered with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) or CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission). ICANN being an international domain registration organisation may appear to be the option that would expose users to the broader market and much more diverse protections, but it is not the reality of the situation. ICANN allows for the registration of a generic top-level domain (.com; .net; .org), but this does not have any common law or statutory protections attached to it. However, the domain registration offered by CIPC which may only expose users to the country code top level domain of (.za) has much more legislative protections afforded to it.
Registration of a domain name system via CIPC allows for such registration to co-occur with the company and trademark registration. As users who require a registered domain name commonly use it for business purposes, registration of a company would be essential and it would be a logical conclusion to register your domain name at the same time. CIPC is able to register domain names due to the powers granted to it by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002. This Act allows for domain names to be protected where an abusive registration may occur. This is where another party attempts to register the same or strikingly similar name to yours in an attempt to profit off of the reputation of your domain name. These protections are not afforded to those who register their domain name system via ICANN which is why registration via CIPC is favourable.
The value of having your own website and registering your domain name in conjunction with your trademark is in presenting your ideas or potential projects to potential clients or investors. You are able to use your trademark and domain name with the monetary value currently associated with them and the projected value thereof to negotiate contracts in your favour.
Should you or your company require any assistance in this regard contact us and we will gladly assist you.