Brands and Blockchain Domain Names

With the emergence and growth of the blockchain domain name market, there has been quite a bit of discussion about domain names with trademarks and famous brand names. There is well-established intellectual property law related to traditional (Web2) domain names, but there are plenty of questions related to decentralized blockchain domain names with famous trademarks in them.

The EnCirca Twitter account posted a link to a comprehensive article about blockchain domain names and trademarks. The article was written by Andrea L. Calvaruso, Matthew Luzadder, Constantine (“Dino”) Koutsoubas, and Kerianne Losier of the law firm Kelley Drye & Warren LLP:

I think the article has some good information for brands who are looking to protect their marks. Importantly, it also has good information for people buying blockchain domain names to understand the risk and enforcement options for brands.

I am not super familiar with blockchain domain names or the market, but it seems like some people may have a bit more of a cavalier attitude towards trademark purchases than in the Web2 .com space. Because blockchain domain names are much newer, there hasn’t been a whole lot of case law established involving extensions like .Eth. I think the Kelley Drye article gives a good overview of the current legal landscape for brand owners and the risks for domain investors.

When it comes to buying domain names, I have done my best to steer clear of well-known brand names. Many brands would prefer to spend money on legal avenues than to reward people they believe are infringing on their brand. The market to sell these domain names may also be more limited. Put another way, there is much more risk with a more limited opportunity for reward when it comes to trademark domain names.