The Importance Of Owning Your Domain Name

This week the media has been peppered with stories surrounding Megxit as the Queen held a crisis summit with senior royals to discuss the next steps for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex want to formally step away from royal duties, and become financially independent whilst splitting their time between Canada and the UK.

Details of their financial independence are yet to be decided. However, if they wanted to use their UK trademarked ‘Sussex Royal’ brand over the pond, they’d be unable to.

It has emerged the intellectual property lawyer Jared Fogelson, from Los Angeles, has trademarked ‘Royal Sussex’ in America in a bid to teach the Duke and Duchess a “valuable lesson about planning.”

Mr Fogelson, registered the trademark application on Wednesday 8th January 2020, after finding to his surprise that the name was still available. The application is for digital platforms and ‘claims ownership over the Sussex Royal brand for communications by computer terminals, transmission and delivery of video, and data via the internet and wireless networks.’

Speaking to TMZ, Mr Fogelson said it is not his intention to hold on to the brand, and if required he would give it to Harry and Meghan for free. He just wanted to teach them a lesson about planning and thinking things through.

However, there may still be a sting in the tail for Mr Fogelson.

It appears that on Tuesday 31st December 2018, the couple’s team filed an application for the trademark ‘Sussex Royal’ with the World Intellectual Property Organisation. This would allow the trademark to be used in Australia, Canada, the EU and USA.

The Duke and Duchess’ application would supersede Mr Fogelson’s so his lesson may go unlearnt.

This unhappy saga has demonstrated a valuable business lesson though. The importance of ensuring you have acquired all the domains and usernames (e.g. for social media channels) that link to your business.

A domain is essential for any business. It allows you to communicate with customers via email and have a website where you publish content enabling customers to find you on the web.

Domains can be purchased and registered with a number of registrars. However, once a business stops paying for a domain name, and the grace period is over, that domain is then up for grabs for anyone to buy and re-register.

A hacker would be able to search and see which domains are up for grabs, re-register them, find previous emails registered in that domain and reset passwords for a variety of accounts including social media which could then give them unlimited access to even more sensitive files and data.

These are called Domain Name System (DNS) attacks and are said to cost global Governments approximately $7m every year.