Donuts.Ventures Invests in Cognate

« All news

World’s leading registry for new top-level domains invests in world’s first trademark service powered by blockchain technology

Seattle and Boston – May 17, 2018 – Donuts.Ventures, the investing arm of Donuts Inc., the global leader in high-quality, new top-level Internet domains, today announced it has made an investment in, a leading trademark protection service, which is powered by blockchain technology. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

“We are delighted that Donuts.Ventures is investing in Cognate,” said Bennett Collen, co-founder and chief executive officer at Cognate. “When it comes to trademarks and brands, Donuts really ‘gets’ the importance (and challenges) of managing digital identity. Their insights, distribution channel of hundreds of registrars and resellers, and outstanding reputation as market innovators, will be significant assets for Cognate, as we look to further commercialize our unprecedented offering.”

Cognate’s unique trademark recording service leverages blockchain technology, to enable individuals and organizations to document their trademark information and proof of trademark use.

“The Cognate investment is strategic for Donuts for many reasons,” said Tim Favia, senior vice president, corporate development at Donuts. “We believe there are compelling synergies between blockchain and domain name system (DNS) technologies, as shown by our previous investments in Netki and GeoNetwork. Today’s news about Cognate offers more proof of this exciting investment thesis.”

“In addition, Cognate’s unprecedented trademark protection offering supports Donuts’ goal to identify compelling new value-added services for our distribution partners, registrars and resellers. Access to this powerful channel will also help to accelerate Cognate’s time to market. It’s a win-win-win – for Donuts, our registrars and for Cognate.”

The Cognate offering is designed, in part, to assist brands in protecting their marks across multiple new domain names. The benefits of Cognate’s solution include:

  • Peace of mind that a company’s most valuable assets – its trademarks, product names, logos, designs, slogans and other brand names – are secure, because Cognate customers will always be able to prove the nature of their trademark use
  • Use of blockchain technology creates records of trademark use that are immutable, tamperproof, and timestamped
  • The ability to record use of both registered and unregistered trademarks (i.e. federal trademark registration is not required to use Cognate’s services)
  • Proof of use of any name, logo, or slogan, in use any jurisdiction in the world, can be securely documented
  • Use of records as evidence of rights, in case of trademark infringement
  • Use of records as evidence in UDRP and other domain name-related disputes
  • Creation of multiple records of proof over time to prove continuing use
  • Log proof showing use in multiple jurisdictions and classes
  • Automatic capture of proof of use when trademark is being used online
  • The ability to access records at any time

“Cognate allows us to secure trademarks at a scale never before attempted,” said Valerie Kirschenbaum, co-founder of WELLECTRICITY. “Cognate ensures both provenance and persistence to our trademarks, which means more enduring protections for our marks. Equally exciting, Cognate’s ingenious use of blockchain is an exciting proof point in the next great ‘land rush’ – likely to change our world just as much as the internet has.”

This announcement comes on the heels of Donuts being named Number 1 in the Deloitte Fast 500.

About Donuts

Donuts simplifies and connects a fragmented online world with domain names and related technologies that allow people and businesses to build, market and own their digital identities. Donuts holds the world’s largest portfolio of new top-level domains, and offers a wide variety of clear and meaningful names for use as business identifiers (such as .ltd, .company), navigation (such as .careers, .support), in vertical markets (such as .photography, .cafe,  or .builders) or in broad-based generics (such as .life, .world or .live). Donuts provides its registrar / reseller customers with innovative services for the discovery, registration, usage and monetization of high-quality domain names. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Donuts, the registrar is one of the most admired brands in the industry. Donuts’ headquarters are in Kirkland, WA; it has offices in Denver, CO; Washington, DC; Dublin, Ireland and Beijing, China.

About Cognate

Cognate offers a new way for businesses to protect and manage their most valuable assets – their trademarks – using blockchain technology. An explosion in global commerce has led to a corresponding explosion in the number of trademarks and potential trademark conflicts. If unable to enforce and defend trademark rights, businesses may face loss of revenue, costly legal conflicts, brand dilution, and customer confusion. Cognate’s online platform allows companies to create systematic, timestamped, and permanent records proving trademark use, enabling them to establish when, where, and how their trademarks are being used. These immutable records can be crucial in instances of trademark infringement, or filing for federal trademark registration. Cognate is fast, simple and affordable, and can be used as a first step before federal trademark registration is considered, or in conjunction with a federally registered trademark. To learn more, visit