So, here is the situation. A phrase (lets say- "pundits") was registered by me as a domain name i.e, www.pundits.com. On the 27th of June 2013.
Then I attached it to my website host on 27th
and subsequently, to my payment gateway etc.
I am trying to start an independent shop , online. I intend to sell garments and footwear and handbags which I or other colleagues make.
I was also told by a lawyer that I do not need to register since it is a small sole proprietorship. However, I figured that I must research if I should register either the business or the trademark. I HAD been using it since June 2013. The website has not been made yet. it will be done on Sunday.
Now when I tried to register the trademark yesterday, I find out that another garment manufacturer and exporter in Mumbai has applied for the trademark registration on the 13th of July 2013. 13 days after me. Apart from this there is no other presence on the internet, anywhere of "pundit"- he has registered it as "pundit" instead of "pundits".
I own the domain name www.pundits.com before he applied for the trademark "pundit". Please remember 'pundit' is being used as an example here.
Now he has claimed on a trade website that his business is worth 10 million. Mine is just a small start-up. But the domain name is all i have. It has become my identity. And the identity of my business.
Here are my questions:
1. How do I find out if he has been using it before me.
2. Can I register a sole-proprietorship company and own the domain www.pundits.com under it. And use that domain name. Without any conflict with his business- if he gets awarded the trademark?
3. I will use the name www.pundits.com for promoting my business and use it in print like making labels and packaging etc.
4. My website isn't developed yet, for financial reasons but it should be done by end of the week.
5. Most important for me is to be able to use my domain name. It is not the name of my company, it is the name of the website. Will their filing for a trademark , affect my being able to use my domain name?
Please let me know what to do. I am spending sleepless nights.