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Summary:

Trademark search engine Trademarkia has launched a domain name registry service that allows users to check whether a domain name is trademarked before buying the domain rights. The launch is part of the startup’s quest to become the “GoDaddy of trademarks,” CEO Raj Abhyanker said.

trademarkia

Trademark search engine Trademarkia has launched a domain name search and registry service that allows users to check whether a domain name is trademarked before they buy the rights to the site.

Trademarkia’s domain service went live with a soft launch in April, and was officially released this week. The service automatically checks the United States’ Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and the U.S. Trademark Electronic Records Retrieval (TARR) system during a user’s domain name purchase process, and warns users if a name or a similar one is already protected.

The launch is the latest step in the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup’s quest to become the “GoDaddy of trademarks,” CEO Raj Abhyanker told me in an interview last week.

“Raw data is kind of boring and hard to understand, but trademarks can actually be really interesting. They’re indicators of big companies’ market strategies, and what’s hot and what’s not,” Abhyanker said. Trademarkia’s service tackles fairly difficult technical problems. “Governments have old legacy databases and old computer systems, so the information has to be put into a database that’s scalable and shown with analytics that make sense.”

Trademarkia claims its trademark search engine and the new domain name service can potentially save small businesses thousands of dollars in rebranding costs and attorney fees. According to Abhyanker, thousands of small businesses have to change their business names and websites because they have unwittingly infringed upon someone else’s trademark. Trademarkia along the way has also stirred up a lot of anger from IP lawyers who compete with the company.

Trademarkia’s money-saving information is apparently something that many people are willing to pay for upfront. Trademarkia is profitable and on track to collect nearly $4 million in net revenue on $13 million in total gross sales for 2011, Abhyanker told me. Those are impressive figures for a less than two-year-old company that has not taken on any venture capital investment. And larger players in the space have started to take note of Trademarkia’s traction.

“We’ve had a couple of [acquisition] offers on the table recently,” Abhyanker said, though he declined to provide specifics on the prospective buyers. While Trademarkia will continue to consider any strategic offers that come its way, for now, the company is taking its time to continue to build its business independently. “We’re cash-flow positive, so we don’t have to sell,” he said. “But our primary goal is to organize the world’s legal information and make it understandable to people. That presents pretty big challenges for a self-funded company. But we’re very happy about it right now.”

That approach adds Trademarkia to the list of startups opting to do business the old-fashioned way– with a real product, real customers, and real profits. It remains to be seen whether the company’s somewhat scrappy and independent approach will allow it to truly compete on the level of GoDaddy, but there’s no doubt that Abhyanker is passionate about the space and working as hard as he can to make it happen.

  1. I tried the service and got no warnings when I searched for obvious trademarks. I added few TM domains available to register and went all the away to checkout process and got no warning as well.

    Their rep doesn’t have a clue about what I was talking about.

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    1. Hello Gnanes,

      I’m sorry about the trouble you encountered with Trademarkia’s domain search. We do indicate if a name is trademarked even if the domain is available. For example, if trying to register: trademarkia.cn, a message will appear in our workflow on the screen before payment. The message will indicate that Trademarkia is trademarked and to be sure the domain you have selected does not infringe on the rights of the trademark owner. I would very much like to speak with you so that we can make sure any questions or issues are addressed. Please contact me directly at william@trademarkia.com or 650-390-6404.

      -William
      Customer Service
      Trademarkia.com

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  2. William, since you’re representing Trademarkia here already, I’ll address this to you:

    Your search seems to only check EXACT trademark matches, i.e. if I looked up Facebook. What it does NOT do is check for partial matches, which may seem unnecessary at first until you consider that a search of FacebookGoogle comes back clean and FacebookGoogle.cn is most certainly trademark infringing to both Facebook and Google.

    You have a good idea in theory but you’re farrr from having it be practical in execution. Someone looking up domains on it thinking anything that comes back clean is safe to register is being done a disservice at this point.

    -Steve

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    1. Hello Steve,

      We really appreciate the feedback. The exact match search results are what we are starting out with for this brand new feature. One immediate action we have taken to address this is to add a wild card to the domain search to look for similar trademarks, even if there is no direct match. As we continue to improve it we will most definitely be enhancing the search results with partial matches and even confusingly similar matches. As we are a self funded company, it will take some time to roll these improvements out, but they are most certainly on their way. This should be a great launching point for businesses to protect and check their brand for possible similar ones. I sincerely appreciate your comments as of course user feedback is the best way to find and facilitate improvements to our site. We look forward to more enhancements going forward.

      Best,

      William
      Trademarkia.com

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  3. Michael R Graham Friday, June 3, 2011

    Unfortunately, the aspiring “GoDaddy of Trademarks” neglects (in both his comments in this article and in providing services) the fact that, unlike registration of domain names (requiring only an unregistered name and payment of money), registration of trademarks involves a broad array of legal, ethical, and business decisions. And while there is obviously a large market for cheap filings — the bad effects of Trademarkia’s procdures will eventually come back to bite them — they are already affecting its customers and their rights.

    Anyway, there is already a “GoDaddy of trademarks” — the Trademark Offices of the world. Sorry, Raj.

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    1. Hello Michael,

      Thank you for your feedback. Trademarkia handles trademark applications in a completely different manner than that of domains. There is no do-it-yourself Trademark process on Trademarkia. All registration services for U.S. trademarks through Trademarkia are handled and filed by a licensed U.S. law firm, Raj Abhyanker P.C. which created the website.

      Furthermore, Trademarkia works with a network of global law firm advertisers in more than 50 countries in the world who file marks for clients. Trademarkia explicitly states this in our Trademark application workflow, as well as our terms of service.

      Best,

      William

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  4. Colette Pierre Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Read about Raj Abhyanker’s legal troubles here:

    http://www.fppc.ca.gov/agendas/08-10/AbhyankerEx.pdf

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  5. Hello Colette,

    These are not legal troubles. In case you forgot or do not know, there first amendment Freedom of Speech in the United States Constitution, and political speech is strongly protected. The link you cite describes a mailer that my City Council campaign supported in opposition of a candidate who wanted to build homes in the hillsides of Cupertino, and thereby tear down older growth trees in the process. I am not ashamed of this mailer.

    It is not our fault if the neighborhood group that sent it failed to properly register themselves. That is all they had to do to have this issue be moot.

    Neighbors around the candidate were upset, my campaign took responsibility for its mailing because we supported it. We did not originate it.

    Ps. Your use of the word ‘Colette Pierre’ apparently is in reference to the character we created for the Bonjour Crepe Company restaurant. The very first tweets from Bonjour Crepe Company made it clear that ‘Colette Pierre’ was a fictitious character. Based on your repeated postings on blogs like this, I can only assume that you are a jealous attorney who is somehow obsessed with stalking me.

    Thanks!

    Raj Abhyanker
    Attorney at Law

    CEO, Trademarkia.com

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    1. It would be useful to hear more unbiased comments from consumers like Gnanes (above) who have actually used Trademarkia’s services without Trademarkia, its owner Raj Abhyanker, or his affiliates/employees butting in to steer the conversation away from impartial discussion and toward their sales script. I’ve had very hard time finding unbiased info about trademarkia’s registrations services. Internet and trademark lawyers say beware of the company’s incomplete advice and misleading prices, but equally predictable is how Trademarkia and its employees seem to patrol the internet “helpfully” interjecting their commercials.

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