What You Should Know Before Buying a Dead Trademark

by marketing 18/12/2019

Why are trademarks important for your business

Read Time: 11 minutes

The whole concept still creates a lot of confusion, therefore here you have the ultimate guide to claiming dead trademarks.

Why are trademarks important for your business?

Understanding how trademark business work is the first tip you should definitely know.

Why are trademarks important for your business

Trademark protects your branding.

For instance, a trademark is the legal form of a brand name. They can include symbols, words, a slogan or anything that helps identify an entity, business or product.

A trademark protects your business from any attempts to create similar products and steal your company’s identity.

There are many other benefits that trademarks bring that you should take into account.

Reasons to trademark your business

Intellectual property (IP) continues to be the most important strategy to protect your business’ products and services. Here are some of the main advantages of trademarking your business.

Reasons to trademark your business

Trademark can bring life to a brand.

  • Easier for customers to identify

Everyone prefers buying a product that comes from a trustworthy business. In fact, your customers will immediately relate your services and goods to the trademark you chose instead of going to a similar company.

  • Boosts business reputation

It’s not just about differentiating you from your competition. Trademarks can quickly gain trust and become a highly valued IP which means that you’ll attract more customers in no time! Furthermore, it shows you produce quality goods as well as services.

  • It can become a transferable asset

As the more value, your trademark gains the more business deals you can negotiate. That’s right! Registering a trademark is a helpful way to strengthen any brand while you protect your investments.

Everything sounds beneficial for your company, but unfortunately, there are some cases where businesses are not eligible for trademarks.

Can your business be eligible for a trademark?

A brand should be unique and commercializing its goods in order to apply for a trademark. According to US Patent and Trademark regulations, you can still acquire a trademark if you present a good faith argument showing your plans for commerce in the future.

Despite the clear requirements, studies suggest that 60% of the trademark registrations fail the first time.

There are many reasons why this happens, but most of them lead to a category called dead trademarks.

How does a trademark become dead?

Trademarks don’t have an expiration date, therefore they are considered “dead” when the trademark office, where it was registered, stop recognizing as a legal mark. Yet, it doesn’t mean the mark has completely disappeared, other companies are allowed to acquire this type of trademark. Once this happens, the previous mark holder can no longer use that trademark.

Can your business be eligible for a trademark

Acquire a trademark if you present good faith of using it.

It is also known as an “abandoned” trademark and it gains its title from circumstances such as:

  • The requested paperwork wasn’t filed on time.
  • Incomplete responses.
  • Not paying the annual fees.

Even though trademark offices allows the applicant to resume the registration after failing the first time, most of these marks are abandoned and listed as dead trademarks.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that the mark is completely available to be used by another individual.

Some cases show that the original owner may have continued to use the abandoned trademark.

Try to remember this because it will be a key element up ahead.

Purchasing an abandoned trademark – steps to follow

Reviving a canceled trademark is possible as long as you follow the right steps. However, there can be potential issues while registering a dead mark.

For instance, penalization under common law rights or failing to provide the necessary files.

In order to avoid these risks, you should consider the following tips:

1.Perform a trademark search

This is the crucial step to determine whether the abandoned trademark is worth the risk or not.

When a company wants to register its brand as a trademark, they usually go to an official trademark office such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

2. How do you apply for a federal trademark?

The process is simple; business owners must provide as much information as possible.

Nowadays, they also require registering a web extension so the new trademark can get the broadest protection.

Some of the information stays at USPTO’s database which is the exact evidence you need to buy the dead trademark you want. Your detective research starts at USPTO where you can check the current status of that trademark.

The specific tool you are looking for is called the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) that will help you solve some of the essential questions before purchasing a canceled trademark.

3. When was the trademark abandoned?

Trademarks don’t expire, but mark holders are required to update the proper paperwork as well as paying a fee after a certain period of time. In the case of the USPTO.

It may take 3 to 5 years before the mark is classified as “dead”.

We mentioned above that the original owner of an expired trademark can still have some rights over the mark. This risk essentially comes from the Lanham Act.

It protects the trademark from being abandoned until there’s enough to prove that it won’t be resumed for use. Even though the USPTO doesn’t consider it as a “live” (active) trademark.

The previous mark holder can be using it for his business. Determining how long a trademark has been dead establishes your chance of acquiring the mark.

Purchasing an abandoned trademark

Avoid these risks and win the trademark.

For instance, if a trademark hasn’t been used for at least 3 years, it’s more likely that it is considered abandoned and, therefore, yours after some time. Understand that, sometimes, you must prove in court the original mark holder doesn’t intend to continue to use it.

Moreover, there’s a risk that the owner wants to fight for his vintage trademark. We recommend contacting the original applicant if possible before continuing with your plan. It is important to prevent as much as possible in order to avoid future legal problems.

Important tips:

  • There are many trademark offices around the world. You can always conduct a global search if you want to use your trademark internationally.
  • TESS determines whether a trademark is abandoned or not. If it is still active, your only option is to buy it directly from the current owner.

4. How did the trademark die?

The trademark marketplace contains many inactive marks ready to be revived again. It is crucial, however, to find out the reason why they gained that status.

Some of the causes were mentioned above, but now we’ll study how they can affect your trademark application.

For example, if the reason was a lack of proper paperwork, the trademark may still be used in commerce and protected by the common law rights.

Let’s think that Harry Potter wasn’t maintained as a trademark,

But its products are still on the market and recognized as part of the mark. If you try to register “Harry Potter” in the USPTO, you can probably be sued by the original owners even though the brand is supposedly dead.

There are other cases where the trademark is canceled due to genericity. It means that it becomes so popular that people relate the name directly to the product, not the business.

The brand name “aspirin” is a good example of this. Once you find the right trademark, you should check on the internet whether there’s someone using it as his. This type of detail can legally affect you in the future, so it’s better to avoid it.

Important tips:

  • Start the search by checking the status of the mark (TARR) at USPTO where you can use a tool called Trademark Document Retrieval (TDR). It helps determine the main reason for abandonment.
  • Trademark offices such as the USPTO don’t usually conduct searches for you or advise you. It is recommended to consult with an expert on the evidence you’ve found before acquiring a dead trademark.

5. Can I finally use an abandoned trademark?

Checking whether the trademark is being used or not sounds like an unnecessary task, but it’s crucial to understand if the mark is available for your business.

A common mistake is to search locally, go to the next level and check if the vintage trademark may be in use in a nearby country.

Use the trademark as a keyword to find similar websites, labels, products or brand names. Remember, even a similar mark is able to have a higher customer reputation which can still cause confusion in the market. Conducting a search is about being curious and exploring any possible opportunity to boost your business.

Important tips:

  • Make a list of dead trademarks. You would like to buy and write down the pros and cons that each of them has according to your research.
  • Determine what trademark is worth to you. Furthermore, consider whether it is a good marketing plan and if you are prepared to take it to court.

6. File a Petition to Revive Online

After searching that an abandoned trademark is ready to be used by you safely, you can now file an intent-to-use file that allows you to legally establish a date of registration. What’s more, it immediately gives you some right in the dead trademark that now has become “live” again.

An accepted petition will be your first evidence to demonstrate that the trademark is yours in case of a dispute. The USPTO has different types of dead applications depending on the reason for abandonment. Here’s a quick guide of how the system works.

7. The federal trademark application process

A canceled trademark is no longer part of the registration process, therefore the USPTO allows to issue an office action through an attorney. The original applicant can submit a petition to revive as long as the first failed application was unintentional. Remember that all forms of applications require a processing fee that cannot be refunded even if it is abandoned. Some types of petitions:

  • Lack of Respond to Office Action
  • Failed to File a Statement of Use
  • Incomplete Response
  • Failure to Respond to Suspension Inquiry

8. So where should I go now?

The application is done electronically via the Trademark Electronic Application System also known as TEAS. It includes a step-by-step guide to file the intent-to-use form. In addition, it also requests a signed statement if the applicant is the original owner. Be aware!

You should deliver the whole petition within two months after the first mailing date. It is essential to file the proper forms on time to avoid having your petition rejected and as a result, start the process again.

Important tips:

  • Save as much information as you can of the application process. First, it’s useful to show you have some rights in the trademark and second, you can use it to request reinstatement in case there’s an error by the USPTO.
  • Prepare some evidence of your current business activities. For example, development, research, market research, and manufacturing activities will come in handy when proving you have a genuine intention to use the trademark.

9. Register your trademark

Some people decide not to register their trademark since it’s not completely necessary, but we highly recommend following this step to ensure safe ownership of the trademark that can solve future disputes. This can be even more important for people who are thinking of buying dead trademarks. How can you be sure when to register? Easy!

You should have completed all the previous steps successfully before start using the trademark in your business.

Take into account that the USPTO is very likely to publish your application. This means that the previous owner can have a chance of raising a legal challenge to claim for his old trademark.

10. Learn how the previous owner can use the common law rights against you

It is a fact that the common law recognizes certain trademark rights in spite of the absence of federal registration. Yet, Intellectual-property law can be complex to understand, but luckily for you.

It usually lacks enough standards so you have a chance of winning the abandoned trademark if the initial owner decides to take it back.

Important tips:

  • You don’t have to take everything on your own. Hiring an attorney can be a great option to build your legal defense to face any challenge
  • Begin to use your trademark as soon as it’s yours. In this way, you can start gaining customer recognition and more evidence if someone wants to start a legal issue.

3 common mistakes when buying trademarks

Whether you are acquiring a new or abandoned trademark, understanding what to do or what NOT to do can be the difference between boosting your business and wasting your money. Here you have a list of things to avoid when claiming for a trademark.

3 common mistakes when buying trademarks

Beware of these trademark mistakes to avoid money loss.

1. Choosing a generic trademark

Genericity can be a big problem when trademarking your brand. It means that the trademark became so publicly known that customers relate it to the products instead of the business that produces them.

Choose something unique and avoid names that can end up being genericized.

It can sound like a big success for the business owner, but it actually kills the trademark and leaves the company without a legal brand. Escalator, cellophane, and trampoline were once registered trademarks, but now no one remembers their original manufacturer.

2. Having the wrong licensee

Mark holders usually license their trademark to other businesses.

The problem comes when the licensee doesn’t produce the exact same goods.

This is reason enough to kill the trademark if a court decides the owner failed in supervising his company.

A trademark owner must control his licensing to avoid this type of issue.

3. Stop using the trademark

This is the main cause of abandonment and it happens simply because either the owner didn’t notify about his absence or stop using the trademark. The mark holder can show in court that they intend to resume the use of the trademark even after a certain amount of time.

Therefore, make sure you continue to use the mark and respond to any continuing requests from the USPTO.

Select the right trademark

A good trademark distinguishes you from your competition and improves your marketing efforts. We already talked about the things to avoid, but now we’ll mention some tips about buying new or dead trademarks.

Select the right trademark

Selection of the right trademark.

  • Be unique, not descriptive

You don’t need to describe the quality or nature of the goods in the trademark. In fact, trademark offices don’t even allow it. Even if you are going to buy an abandoned trademark, be aware of selecting something that sounds too descriptive.

  • Don’t choose surnames and acronyms

People usually want a trademark related to their names. For instance, Albert Fast Computer or AFC may be unique, but it is a poor option to succeed in the trademark marketplace. If you are either buying a vintage trademark or creating a new one, you should definitely make sure it doesn’t include any name difficult to remember or similar.

  • Express an experience

Instead of describing what your goods or services are about. Try to pick a trademark that expresses how the experience or action is going to be. Sprint and Ups are great examples of this.

  • Invent new words

There are many dead trademarks that don’t really exist in any language. Moreover, invented words are distinctive, easy to remember and a great opportunity to develop your business. They usually come out by combining other words or phrases. For example, Intuit, Houzz, and Kodak.

  • Try unrelated trademarks

People believe that explaining how their business works through the trademark is going to get them more sales. This common mistake leads to generic brand names that usually stunt any marketing strategies.

Choose something completely unrelated to your company and you’ll see how original it’s going to be. Apple and Camel are good examples of this as well.

Looking for unique trademarks? – Examples

  • Dunku.com: Straightforward and memorable, Dunku is related to the word “dunk” which expresses endearing vibes as well as fun. This 5-letter trademark can perfectly work for services related to children such as education, games or sports.
  • Eaaz.com: Eaaz is a bold and impactful trademark. It’s a good example of a brand name for any business related to a web application and online portals. Moreover, it is short and lyrical so it will be easier for a customer to remember.
  • Coinesh.com: We’ve talked about selecting creative and unique names. Coinesh is inspired in the word “coin”, a great way to stand out in the online trading and money transfer business. In other words, financial business websites.
  • Offergo.com: It is a trendy way to combine the word “offer” and “go”. Offergo is professional and techie as well, therefore it suits for marketing, travel and even adventure companies.

Brandnic is here to help you

Our best advice is to seek professional help in order to make your trademark registration process simple and effective. Brandnic offers unique business names in a quick and affordable way.

Brandnic is here to help you

Brandnic helps in choosing the right brand name for your trademark registration.

In fact, our team can help you with the trademark certification process so you don’t have to worry about the common law trademark. You also get free logo revisions and monitoring services from our technical expert team.

Remember our job is done once the customer is happy and received their domain name full control.

What Is Dead Trademark and How to Claim It

by Brandnic Official 18/12/2019

I want to acquire a dead trademark

Read Time: 11 minutes

What is a trademark?

First things first, you must be aware of the definition of a trademark before claiming one yourself. A trademark is an official way to identify a symbol, word or words which represents a company or entity.

Trademark basically helps distinguish specific products from the goods of others. It is also called servicemark when it involves services.

The reason why it was created is simple:

No consumer confusion! So you can build your business in a fast and safe way.

Understanding trademark

Understanding the trademarks and their types.

Here are some of the main benefits of federal trademark registration:

  • Lets other companies know that you are using it.
  • It helps protect against registrations of similar marks.
  • It makes hiring easier.
  • It allows the registrant to sue in a federal court if necessary.
  • This leads to higher traffic on a website.

Now we know that a trademark is the legal form of a brand, but sometimes they are classified as abandoned or dead.

What does a dead trademark mean?

Trademarks are usually to be registered in a trademark office such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It is considered dead when this type of trademark office doesn’t recognize it anymore.

More about all trademark types.

Luckily, this doesn’t mean it is lost forever, an abandoned trademark is available for use by other individuals or companies under the correct circumstances. Nevertheless, the original registrar won’t be able to seek protection for that trademark.

The process can be more complex than people think, in fact, the registrant may face cases such as a trademark opposition or a trademark infringement before offices such as USPTO decides to take action.

Identifying an abandoned trademark

At first, it is actually not necessary to register a trademark, you can acquire trademark rights through regular usage of your business in commerce.

Trademarks don’t have an expiration date and they are very useful to protect a company that is growing potentially fast.

There are many reasons why a trademark can be considered abandoned. Once the registration application is started, a trademark can be canceled under some reasons:

  • The applicant stops responding to the trademark office.
  • Lacking the necessary paperwork
  • The application is incomplete.

Yet, it is common that these registrations fail during their first steps, as a result, the applicant is able to choose whether to continue with the process or not. This is when the confusing part starts!

A common mistake is to think that a canceled trademark is immediately ready to be used by someone else.

However, most of the cases show that the owner is still using it and may have trademark rights, but we’ll continue with this in a few moments.

In normal circumstances, a registered trademark will only need a declaration of continued use every five and ten years after the first registration.

It’s the easiest way to keep it “alive”, however, it is also a common reason to fail a trademark registration and being classified as “abandoned”. It doesn’t stop there, vintage trademarks can be the result of many other factors.

4 main reasons why the trademark may become dead

4 main reasons why the trademark may become dead

Still a chance to use your trademark – explained.

1. Improper licensing

A mark holder is in charge of supervising his franchise in order to verify if the licensee produces the exact good that it is required. That is to say, quality control and supervision programs (which are essential for store chains and large companies)

A trademark can be declared dead by some courts if the owner fails to control his company.

2. Genericity

It’s not the first time that an original term is used to describe a general item or service once it has gained enough popularity. Unfortunately, it means that the trademark owner has failed to keep the use of its mark limited.

Genericity means that a trademark has lost its meaning and its services or products are not related to the original business anymore.

For example, the term “dry ice” was once registered by the Dry Ice Corporation of America in 1925, but it is now considered a genericized trademark. Find how you can trademark a phrase on your own on the link.

3. Assignments lacking an accompanying sale

A mark holder is able to assign his ownership rights to another party.

Yet, it is necessary a full sale of assets to avoid killing the trademark.

The reason is simple, the owner shouldn’t sell only the trademark because it will no longer represent the original product it was associated with.

4. Abandonment

A trademark is considered abandoned when a mark holder stops using it for commercial purposes.

An owner can keep his trademark rights as long as they continue to pay the licensing fees and avoid being inactive for three consecutive years.

Owners can still save their trademarks if they succeed to demonstrate that they intend to use them after some time. Mark holders can express abandonment in a trademark office even though the rights of the owner won’t stop to exist after the mark is considered dead.

How to revive your own vintage trademark

You are getting into business again and you would like to claim for your old trademark that now has been declared “dead”. Is it possible to save it from abandonment? You may be happy to know that you still have a chance as long as you follow the right steps.

Identify why your trademark rights were taken from you

We mentioned several reasons above that can help you understand why you are no longer the mark holder. It is important to know that you have better possibilities of having your trademark back if the reason is abandonment.

Understand the current status of your trademark

Go to the trademark office where you registered your mark such as USPTO and perform deep research to find out whether your trademark is being used by other businesses or it is still considered abandoned.

If it is still marked as “dead”, you are very likely to have it back in no time by proving you intend to resume it.

Nevertheless, if another company has started to use it after a three-year period of abandonment, you will have to buy it from the new owner.

How to revive your own vintage trademark

Reviving your trademark.

The other option is to consult with an intellectual property law expert to start a more complex legal argument and save your old trademark. However, it is a process that requires more paperwork and specialized attorneys.

Use your trademark again

If you were lucky enough to complete step two successfully, you can now enjoy using the trademark. However, a judge will decide whether you will be given the legal rights over your trademark again.

Don’t forget to register

In order to avoid future disputes, you should register your trademark again. This is highly recommended because you may not be aware of how your mark was used while it was abandoned.

I want to acquire a dead trademark – what should I do?

When the USPTO classifies a trademark registration as “dead”, it indicates that the registrant failed in maintaining the registration in the first place.

I want to acquire a dead trademark

When USPTO – consider a trademark as a dead trademark.

Following this, we often receive many common questions such as:

Can I register a trademark if it is dead?

It is possible to bring back to life another’s an abandoned trademark, but it’s also possible that the original registrant still owns some of the common-law trademark rights as we mentioned above.

This is when a dead registration can actually be considered a live trademark which means it is not available to be registered again.

The process of claiming a dead trademark also depends on consumer recognition since the more successful it was, the more difficult it may be to acquire it.

Here you have a few useful steps you can follow to claim a vintage trademark.

1. Perform a trademark research

The first steps may be similar to the ones we talked about previously, but they are crucial to creating your trademark plan.

Once you find out that the trademark you wish to acquire belonged to someone else, you should determine its current status. A useful tool can be alive/dead indicator trademark which will let you know whether the vintage trademark is still in use or not.

How about if the trademark is still active?

If your Google trademark search shows that someone is using the trademark you want, your only option is to buy the rights from the current owner.

We highly advise conducting a global search if you’d like to use the trademark worldwide. This can be a great option to determine its status in other countries.

Live/dead indicator trademark

You may use USPTO to conduct a search online as well as the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). This database allows you to see which trademarks can be claimed through its live/dead categories. For instance,

The live category is divided into other two subcategories:

  • The trademark application is not issued, but it is considered active. You can only find a serial number since there isn’t a registration number.
  • Federal trademark rights can be asserted and the mark is valid as long as there is a registration number.

On the other hand, the “dead” category also involves two subcategories.

  • Lack of registration number since the applicant never completed the application process.
  • There was a registration number but resulted in a canceled trademark due to abandonment. The registration isn’t valid anymore and federal rights can’t be used. The original owner can only claim state trademark rights through common law.

2. Apply for an Intent-to-use file

Everything will be more professional if you follow the legal process that trademark offices such as USPTO ask for.

This is an important step if you determine that vintage trademark is not being used by someone and you’d like to proceed to claim it.

File an application form so you can establish an official date confirming you registered the trademark. It is crucial to follow this step before you start using the mark so you can have complete rights over the products and services you offer. Moreover,

Disputes related to trademarks are very common and most of them occur due to lack of paperwork and evidence.

The sooner you demonstrate the mark is yours, the safer you will be. For example:

Most trademark applications require genuine intentions to use the mark for a long period of time. This intent is demonstrated by filing all the requirements that the intent-to-use application asks for.

What requirements should I present?

They are very likely to ask for any activities that show your business as a good candidate to boost the trademark faster. These activities include development activities, market research or any other manufacturing activities.

3. Time to register the trademark

After completing phase two, you may want to register your new mark so you can avoid future disputes and affirm your ownership of the trademark.

You can now begin any commercial activities using the trademark. However, trademark offices such as USPTO will let everyone know about your purchase in order to give another mark holder the chance to oppose your rights.

It may sound unnecessary, but it is part of the legal process USPTO has to follow. As a result, the previous owner is allowed to start a legal challenge against you by using the intellectual-property law.

A life-saving tip would be to hire an attorney so you can build a legal defense against these challenges as step four indicates.

Don’t worry! Most of these cases lack clear standards and a lot of evidence is required to prove whether or not the trademark was abandoned by the original owner.

4. Be aware of how the original owner may want his trademark back

Learning the ways how the initial owner can use common-law rights against you is the first step to prevent losing your new trademark. The common law derives from judicial and custom precedent, it doesn’t involve statute.

In other words …

It can protect mark holders even if there is an absence of federal trademark registration. This is the most common option previous owners use to mount a challenge to a trademark application. Is there a good alternative to avoid this?

Protect your trademark by using it!

You still maintain some trademark’s ownership, therefore if you show you are using it on your products, you will have more evidence that the trademark is yours.

Choose what it is truly worth to you

Claiming for an abandoned trademark can be a long way, but it brings many benefits to your company. It is essential to pick a trademark that you feel identified with so you do the proper research before making it part of your plan.

Determine the importance of a mark by asking yourself some questions:

  • Will this trademark provide more traffic for your company?
  • Is this trademarkable to complement your marketing plan?
  • Are you willing to face the risks that using this mark may bring?

Potential risks when acquiring abandoned trademark

Don’t take it easy! A trademark that looks available may actually lead to complications during the registration process. Most risks only occur due to a lack of research. For instance:

  • Live trademarks – using a trademark that is classified as “live”. Moreover, the current owner is the only person who can legally use the mark.
  • Widely recognized trademarks – another party may be using the mark even if a trademark appears as “dead” which makes it more difficult for the public to relate it your products/services.
  • Being sued by the original business – this is not a common thing, you should make sure to learn who the previous owner was and determine his reasons for abandonment. Keep regular research on your vintage trademark. We recommend performing regular searches in order to ensure that your trademark isn’t being used for other commercial purposes.

BONUS – Using USPTO to check the meanings of abandonment

We’ve talked about doing some research before buying a dead trademark as well as using USPTO’s database to check the status of the mark, but how about if you could also check the reason why it was abandoned?

It may sound useless at first because the trademark is considered “dead” either way. Yet, understanding how the trademark was abandoned will give you a good hint of whether to claim for it or not.

Using USPTO to check the meanings of abandonment

Checking the reason behind the trademark being abandoned.

Start your detective work checking the status of the mark (TARR) at USPTO. Then you can access to Trademark Document Retrieval (TDR) to collect more evidence about the trademark you are looking for.

You really want to avoid claiming for a mark that had many examiner objections during their application process.

In other words, an examiner had a good reason to decide why the mark shouldn’t be registered which lets you know you are trying to buy a trademark that would probably cause you trouble.

There are other common cases where the trademark was simply abandoned or canceled due to a lack of paperwork. These are the trademarks you may want to apply for since it’s less likely that you’ll have to face a previous owner ready to fight for his vintage trademark.

Is there an annual fee after a trademark is approved?

A common question we often receive is whether a mark holder has to pay a fee for maintaining a trademark. People often worry about this because not paying the requested fees can lead to the cancelation of the trademark.

There is indeed an annual fee even for renewals and it starts since the very moment the trademark is issued. Nonetheless, the maintenance schedule is completely related to the rules where it was registered.

For example, the USPTO requires a file of “continued use” after 3 or 6 years in order to avoid being canceled.

The process continues after a few years and so on. It all depends on the country where it was registered since there are trademark offices that accept installments like the case of the Japanese trademark office.

Brandnic helps you with the trademark certification

We love offering an attractive business name in a quick and safe way. Brandnic has the best options for you! With every purchase, you get a domain name, a unique logo design, free logo revisions, common law trademark, AND trademark monitoring.

We help you with your first ideas in order to have an attractive and memorable business name.

Brandnic also offers customer support which provides basic functioning to ensure a fast response to all of our customers. We believe customer satisfaction as our key value.

What is Whois Database and How It Works

by Brandnic Official 29/11/2019

What is WHOIS

Read Time: 10 minutes

Table of Contents

1. What does WHOIS do?
2. Origin and History of WHOIS
3. Evolution of WHOIS
4. Initiating a WHOIS Search
5. Whois Data
6. Which information does WHOIS share?
7. WHOIS Data Model
8. Protection of Privacy
9. Why Keep Your Information Private?
10. Registering your domain name
11. What if the Domain name is unavailable for sale?
12. Why Brandnic is your best domain name and branding, provider.
13. Final Words


The word ‘’WHOIS” is usually pronounced as ‘’WHO IS’’. It is a tool that enables anyone to search the statistics and facts of a registered website (domain) including name and contact data. It is structured in the form of listing records, widely used to search and query registered domain information.

The body in charge of regulating the domain name registration industry is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Premium domain providers such as Brandnic are brand names marketplace for domains to maintain domain names information for individuals and corporate bodies ranging from only Top Level Domains (TLDs) such as .com

What is WHOIS

Understanding WHOIS.

Upon registration of a new domain name, a registrar will request explicit and detailed information, most of which are required and requested by ICANN. Such information is retained in the WHOIS database, which is accessible to all through the domain WHOIS lookup tool. Data available in a look-up is subject to the discretion of the registrar to some extent, however, in most cases, to get more information, you have to go through a registrar’s website.

Special protection features are offered by some exclusive domain marketplace like Brandnic which can avail your domain information some level of protection, notably WHOIS domain privacy protection.

What does WHOIS do?

WHOIS divulges pertinent information about a domain name, by simply executing a search. Through WHOIS lookup tools like Brandnic, you can obtain information about who the seller of a premium domain is including basic information of the owner such as the address, phone number, email address, name servers and so on.

What is the Whois Domain lookup tool?

WHOIS domain look-up is the enabling tool that allows you access to investigate the ownership and tenure of a domain name in the registry database.

How Is A Domain WHOIS Search Conducted?

A WHOIS search is conducted by imputing the necessary domain or IP address into the search box, queries will be sent and the most recent information will be displayed.

What Is the WHOIS Database?

The WHOIS database is a pool containing all registered domains on the web. The details of a registered domain on a database is usually available and accessible to the public through WHOIS lookup tools. ICANN maintains and updates the WHOIS database.

Origin and History of WHOIS

Let us breakdown WHOIS, its origins and the framework regulating its operations for better enlightenment.

WHOIS origination can be traced to the year 1982 when the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) published a protocol established for the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) users. This established protocol was a directory in which data and information of users transmitting data around the ARPANET were listed as a requirement. In 1998, based on the evolution of the Internet and the growing need for the protocol by various stakeholders, ICANN took over the protocol and maintained the status quo, based on the IETF standard. It emerged to become the WHOIS protocol in use till date.

Origin and History of WHOIS

History of domain WHOIS.

During this era, the WHOIS had not become standardized and yet to be a centrally operated database: data were overseen by the registries and registrars who used the same software standard and were independent entities. However, in 1999, ICANN created opportunities in the market for other entities to offer domain name registration services and these entities were saddled with the responsibilities of maintaining registries of TLDs.

It is pertinent to know that for an entity to become a registry, there must have been prior registered and accredited with ICANN. In most cases, to operate a TLD, registrars are in contract with the ICANN: those in contract operate TLDs such as .org, which is strictly maintained by the Public Interest Registry (PIR) since 2003.

Evolution of WHOIS

The modifications to the WHOIS service prerequisite agreements with registrars and registries over the years occurred as a response to the expansion and dynamic changes in the use of the Internet. The policies implemented include actions to trail mischievous behavior, standardize domain name registration processes, public interest protection, assisting stakeholders in tackling fraud and preventing obnoxious uses of information.

There are diverse ways of implementing a WHOIS search. A command-line interface application was the most commonly used means. However, web-based tools are extensively used now, and the process has been abridged for easy usage.

Some of the various ways of WHOIS search implementation include:

WHOIS Lookup Tool – This is the commonest and is a web-based implementation whereby users only need to proceed to a web-based WHOIS look-up directory and input a domain name and press the search button. The search query would give any available registration information from the central directory or determine that the domain name is available if unregistered.

Initiating a WHOIS Search

Initiating a WHOIS search.

Command Line WHOIS queries – Where there is a supporting operating system on your computer, the command prompt, can be used to override a third-party service and perform WHOIS queries from your own computer.

Registrar’s Search – There are few instances where data are to be checked on a specific domain WHOIS server to enable a search. Currently, there is no generic way of determining the main WHOIS server for a particular domain extension. Hence, the types of WHOIS look-up necessitates extra work, such as performing a search through the registrar of the domain name to retrieve the registration data of the domain.

WHOIS Internet Protocol (IP) Queries – This is a browser-based tool and allows you to discover who is controlling an IP address. It only requires to input the IP address into the Internet protocol lookup search engine; however, it is subject to WHOIS domain privacy protection, in which instance the data results will not be displayed.

Whois Data

As the name suggests, WHOIS is simply a kind of tool that provides answers to questions such as “who is?’’ and other incidental questions in relation to the domain name or an IP address of users. WHOIS data is the information provided by an owner when registering a domain name and it is usually stored in a WHOIS database.

Whois Data

WHOIS domain name.

Commonly, the amount of data provided for and obtainable in a database is based on the form of TLD and the registrar of the domain. For instance, registries like .org and .net provide full contact details. However, registries like the .au domain are more secured and provide limited information.

Read our guide on how to secure a domain name from theft.

Which information does WHOIS share?

A record is a compilation constituting pieces of evidence about an account kept in writing or some sort of permanent form, and these records are distinct ranging from registrar to registrar. However, they commonly share mandatory information provided during registration. Information provided ranges from the domain name, name and contact information of the registrar, name and contact information of the domain owner, the link to their WHOIS server, the status of a domain name, the name server, the creation and expiration dates.

Which information does WHOIS share

Sharing domain name WHOIS data.

As earlier stated, note that information shared by WHOIS search tools are subject to domain privacy protection.

Registrar’s data

The registrar’s data must be kept up to date at all times, in the event issues in connection with the domain ownership arise, which will require the provision of accurate details of the domain name, in order for issues to be easily resolved.

WHOIS Data Model

There are two classes of data models, which are used in storing up WHOIS data. They are; the thin model and the thick model.

The thin WHOIS lookup model provides the registrar information, name server, and the registration dates only.

The thick WHOIS lookup model provides additional information attainable beyond what is available from a thin WHOIS record, such as the domain owner, technical and administrative record. The thick model ensures consistent and slightly faster queries.

WHOIS Data Model

Understanding the difference between the thin and thick data model of a domain WHOIS.

It is quite intensive to trace WHOIS information considering the several registrars and WHOIS servers out there. Brandnic makes it easy to find all available WHOIS information in one click.

Protection of Privacy

Due to the availability and accessibility of data and information to the public, some registrars such as Brandnic brand names come up with privacy protection services that permit domain owners to conceal their actual contact in the WHOIS search result, to prevent their private information from getting into the wrong hands such as scammers.

Why Keep Your Information Private?

Failing to conceal your information which ought to be private, makes you vulnerable to a great deal of spam.

Information privacy reduces the rate at which spam appears.

Individuals and corporate entities search the WHOIS database to create a list of target organizations or establishments to send unsolicited mass emails and advertisements to earn your patronage.

Within the limited time of registration, your cell might be buzzing with offers from a purported deal, for example, website designers. You may even end up becoming a victim of fake registration and fake alerts by giving out detailed information which ought to be private and shared willingly.

Why Keep Your Information Private

Protected WHOIS data protects you from the data theft risk.

To reduce identity theft, it is essential to be aware of the fact that scammers are looking for ways to dominate your site by using the information displayed in the search engine. In the case of a WHOIS privacy protection, it protects you from the risk of another person creating another similar account in your name, causing mayhem with your website and other malicious purposes.

Concealing physical and IP location is also wise as our society is filled with creepy people. Hence, not every entity on social media is internet friendly and advisable to avoid being a target by taking these extra security measures.

Registering your domain name

Domain names are a representation of a brand and they are a formidable tool in driving business growth. A catchy or short domain name can do just the magic for your brand, depending on the nature of your business.

Selecting a good domain name by yourself tends to be a bone in the neck and really tricky.

The various possible domain names flashing through your mind, leaving you to confuse with few choices or none at all.

Registering your domain name

Brandnic.com – A brand name marketplace.

Brandnic.com, a top business and domain name seller, offers branding services that can improve the chances of scaling up your business growth by far. The Brandnic team offers entrepreneurs a guide about business names to make a great impression on your customers. Brand names are the first impression and should be thoroughly considered from the initial business startup stage. A quick domain tool search reveals the availability or otherwise, of your domain name without the hassle by initiating a domain name WHOIS search. You may request for customized domain name suggestions, logo design services, get your domain name registered and become protected in a jiffy.

Buying a domain, either premium domain names that the registrant has listed on a marketplace or purchasing a regular domain name, it works the same way:

  1. Search for a premium domain name.
  2. Add the domain to your cart.
  3. Enter your contact information.
  4. Check out.

You are now a proud domain owner. Thereafter, the registration renewal shall be at the regular rates of domain registration in subsequent years of domain registration.

What if the Domain name is unavailable for sale?

If the domain name required is unavailable, pre-owned and yet to be listed for sale, it is possible to approach the domain owner and inquire, if they are willing to sell it.

Brandnic helps to get you a premium domain name for your business

Brandnic helps to get you a premium domain name for your business.

Brandnic provides the requisite support to connect you to the domain owner through the customer support service, negotiate an offer with the domain owner and secure the transfer of ownership to you. You may contact the owner directly but it is unwise and unsafe due to the risk inherent. Marketplaces with the regulated processes, such as Brandnic help prevent scams, save time and ensure the safe transfer of ownership. Brandnic principally does all the work for you.

Why Brandnic is your best domain name and branding, provider.

Branding is a self-discovery journey that defines who you are, who you want to be and how people perceive you. You do not have to walk the mile alone.

Personalized logos designed by Brandnic are uniquely crafted to express the brand and engender customer appeal. Some props available are a high-quality cheap domain, business packages, and deals at affordable rates.

Brandnic is the most suitable brand that to assist you to start up by business and establishment as a notable brand with other outstanding support such as authentic trademark certification, 24/7 customer support, website description/content, and domain name monitoring services.  provide domain names.

Why Brandnic is your best domain name and branding, provider

Why Brandnic is your best domain name and branding, provider

Proper branding is crucial for all forms of business, as it increases the value of your company and distinguishes you from the competition by making a statement of how you wish to be perceived.

A great brand enjoys business referrals, trust, credibility and customer satisfaction.

Using branding resources and products from trusted companies such as Brandnic makes it easy to generate appealing and solid advertising strategies that match well with your branding goals.

The website also has an expanse list of cheap premium domain names, which typically are more expensive than the typical domains and is a very useful tool in generating brand names. You can easily couch a brand name from the already generated cheap premium domain names.

Final Words

If you intend to make a profitable investment and attract as much traffic as possible, the right name can be worth the investment. Why set yourself behind in the long line of competitors by saving a few dollars at the peril of hundreds and thousands of dollars potential profit?

Our goal is to help you find the best domain name and branding properties for your business, either premium or regular domain names at cheap rates. Go to Brandnic and search for a domain name today!


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