Protecting your brand in this new space is hard…

Brand protection and blockchain domains are not good bedfellows. The anonymous, decentralized, and unregulated nature of the blockchain domains means that there are few remedies available for brands to protect themselves against cybersquatting.

For the lucky top 100,000 websites in the world, some blockchain naming services have reserved specific names for well-known brands, but for everyone else – it’s a free for all.  This is because the technical structure of blockchain means that ownership is absolute, and no authority can forcibly make changes to a blockchain protocol without forking it into a new protocol entirely.  This means that even if there was a UDRP or court ruling, there is currently no central authority, such as ICANN, to enforce a decision.

But it’s not impossible.  There are still options available to brand owners to protect themselves in the blockchain domain name space.  Clearly, the earlier you take action the greater chance you have of securing your brand.  However, if you find your brand has already been registered by a cybersquatter, there are still options available to recover it.  Let’s take a look at some of the brand protection actions available to brand owners.

…But Not Impossible

1. Conduct a Brand Analysis –  Blockchain Domain Names

Blockchain Domains and Brand Protection

It seems that every day there are different blockchain domain names being announced, so it’s important to be guided on the blockchai n domain names that have volumetric significance, broad participation and traction amongst other brands.

Once the blockchain projects of interest have been established an environmental analysis can establish:

  • What identical branded domain names are available or are taken by 3rd parties;
  • What confusing similar branded domain names are available or are taken by 3rd parties;
  • What taken domain name of possible interest are possibly for sale

How brandsec can help: Brandsec provides our Clients with a free blockchain domain name brand analysis and can also provide a broader analysis to include NFTs and Registrant/seller analysis.  

For a free blockchain domain name analysis report, contact us here.

2. Defensive Registrations

Brand owners should consider purchasing blockchain domain names that reflect their trademarks or brand names. Some naming services have reserved the use of certain words that can be claimed by the relevant owner, at least for a limited time. If your name has not been reserved, and is still available, you will need to consider purchasing the domain name from the naming service exchange.

Each naming service operates slightly differently in relation to registering a blockchain domain name.  Some accept USD, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana etc while others only accept their native token so you will need to exchange coins and token on a cryptocurrency exchange to finalise your transaction. You will also need to connect your wallet, such as Metamark to the exchange in order to connect your NFT domain name to your unique wallet address.

Blockchain domain names such as Handshake that has over 7Million registrations operate under a viklery auction, so a little bit of knowledge, gaming and skill is required to ensure that you win the domain name that youre interested in.

How brandsec can help: our Clients don’t have to worry about exchanging different crypto curreneices for native tokens, setting up wallets or minting domain names.  Brandsec provide a custodial wallet with a unique address and manage the registration of all of our Client’s blockchain domain names, including managing their renewals where needed.

3. Claim your brand name or mark

Most of the naming services, with exception to ENS, have reserved the Alexa Top 100k domains on chain to make sure that important brands are able to own their name. These names can be claimed in multiple ways depending on the naming service.  For Unstoppable domain names for example, agents such as Brandsec can make claims directly to Unstoppable whereas Naming Services such as Handshale require a DNSSEC proof of ownership. This means that the owner of the domain name must place a TXT record at their domain name that includes a controlled address.

Claim Protected Blockchain Domain Names

How brandsec can help: brandsec can manage the claims process for our Clients. We have recently developed a partnership with Unstoppable to reserve and claim domain name for well known Australian brands.

4. Consider purchasing your domain name on OpenSea or an aftermarket service

If your namesake of trademark is registered already, there is a chance that you can buy it from an NFT marketplace like OpeaSea. OpenSea offers a marketplace allowing for NFTs to be sold directly at a fixed price, or through an auction, based on the Ethereum ERC-721 standard, the layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum Polygon, the KIP-7 standard for Klaytn, and the SPL standard for Solana.

After domain names are purchased and minted they are listed on services such as OpenSea where sellers and buyers can exchange offers to buy or sell NFT (Blockchain) domains.

How brandsec can help:  brandsec provides an end-to-end solution to ensure that you have the best chance of acquiring your target domain name, at the best possible price.  We manage the negotiation and transaction in the cryptocurrency listed on the marketplace listing.  You don’t have to worry about connecting your wallet, transacting in crypto, and securing the domain name.  We take care of the entire process.

5. Dispute Notice to Marketplaces

Trademark owners can also send takedown notices to the marketplaces selling infringing blockchain domains. OpenSea, Rarible, and Nifty Gateway all have procedures in place (with varying degrees of effectiveness) to deal with intellectual property violations.  Once a takedown notice is sent to OpenSea, for example, OpenSea will notify the owner of the domain that the listing has been removed due to a takedown request (meaning it’s no longer for sale to the public). The notice will allow the owner to contact the brand holder, which might spawn more reasonable negotiations since the domain has been delisted. This approach could result in a more permanent remedy.

How brandsec can help:  brandsec provided end-to-end dispute management with all of the major NFT marketplaces, including communication, evidence coordination and complaint submission.

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