Earlier trademarks in human society comprised of words, graphics, letters, numbers, three-dimensional signs, color combination, and any combination of the foregoing elements plus ® trademark sign and symbol, which is also called conventional trademarks. With the development of human beings, sound and scent as carriers were added to represent trademarks.
As entering into the Internet information age, there emerges an innovative trademark representation form - ".商标", which takes a generic top-level domain name as the carrier and combines trademark rights on the Internet. ".商标" is only available for registration by holders of conventional trademarks consisting of words, letters, and numbers, as well as combination of the foregoing elements. At the same time, it uses the Chinese characters 商标 preceded by a dot and enclosed by double quotation marks as a uniform symbol of a top-level domain, i.e. “.商标”, and thus setting it apart from conventional trademarks and avoiding unnecessary confusion in their use.
Intellectual property consists of creative achievement and identifying symbol, among which the ".商标" falls into the scope of the latter. Like a trademark sign and symbol ® of conventional trademarks, a".商标" is one of non-conventional trademarks as sound trademarks and scent trademarks, which is a representation form of trademark by associating with a domain name on the Internet, and which is different from conventional trademarks, featuring the functions in the definition of conventional trademarks such as distinctiveness, peculiarity, identifiableness, exclusivity, right, timeliness, and territoriality., with brand value.
Both sound trademark and scent trademark feature their invisibility. In addition to visual and identifying functions of conventional trademarks, a ".商标" can direct to the website of its brand trademark by entering it in any browser to obtain brand and service information. It means that a ".商标" may be used as the "business card" trademark of any individual, enterprise, or organization. For instance, when we see "顺丰.商标", we will immediately associate it with the enterprise, SF Express. By seeing the suffix ".商标", we may know it is the Chinese trademark domain name linking to the online information of SF Express. By "顺丰.商标", users may log on the real official website of SF Express.
".商标" has become an international generic addressing sign with rights of trademark and domain name for consumers and the Internet users to search, identify, and distinguish goods, services, or the sources of specific individuals, enterprises or organizations related to such goods or services from others. The use of ".商标" may enhance consumers and users' impression and memory of brand trademarks, strengthen the recognition degree, and improve the reputation and goodwill of brand trademarks. ".商标" has an active role in directing consumers in buying branded goods and is able to reduce the disorder and confusion in recognition and use of trademarks caused by inconsistent trademark names used on or off the Internet, so as to minimize the loss resulted from buying fake goods and services or mistakenly logging on phishing websites.
".商标" will expand the scope of use and enrich representation of conventional trademarks; it will speed up brand communication and extend the reach of brand influence; it will enhance right protection for conventional brands and trademark right manifestation; as a result, it renews the vitality of conventional trademarks by maintaining the value and relevance of their continued existence.
".商标" pioneered the in-depth integration of the Internet and intellectual property right and upgraded the use and value of trademarks, which, following visual trademarks, sound trademarks, and scent trademarks, is another innovative representation of trademarks in the history of intellectual property right.