5 Things to Know About Domain Names that will Help You Stop Cybersquatters

Originally posted 2018-04-12 11:31:12

cyber crimeBy Nicole LaCicero | Editor: Kristen Daly | www.amdlawgroup.com

1. Preserving the integrity of your domain name is vital to your business. You can STOP cybersquatters and reduce your litigation costs using the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) Arbitration System.

2. Cybersquatters profit from purchasing domain names that are similar to well-known companies in the hopes of extorting money from them as the costs of litigation will likely exceed the ransom. Cybersquatters, like many cybercriminals, use this as their business strategy. However, ICANN, a non-profit, private sector and quasi-regulatory entity, provides a stable and secure network by coordinating maintenance and procedures including domain names. ICANN has created an effective and affordable administrative mechanism for businesses that are victims of cybersquatting.

3. Cybersquatting is illegal, and lawsuits can be brought under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA”). The law was created to prevent cybersquatters and allow trademark owners to file a lawsuit. In order to prevail the owner must prove:

  • The trademark was distinctive at the time the domain name was first registered;
  • the domain name registrant had a bad faith intent to profit from the trademark;
  • the registered domain is identical or similar enough to cause confusion with the real trademark; and
  • the trademark is protectable under federal trademark law.

4. Under the ICANN Arbitration System, an owner of a trademark must:

  • verify that their domain name is associated with a generic-top level domain name, i.e. .com, .net, .org, etc; and
  • contract with ICANN to file a “Uniform Domain Name‬ Dispute Resolution Policy (”UDRP‬”) proceeding against the registrant. If you are successful, the domain will be canceled and transferred to you!

5. Finally, to prevail using the ICANN Arbitration System the claimant only needs to prove the following elements:

  • The domain name owner has no rights or legitimate interest in using the domain name;
  • the domain name in question is identical or similar enough to be confused with a trade or service mark that the claimant has rights to; and
  • the domain name was registered in bad faith.

Cyber criminals exploit the loopholes present in the U.S. legal system by taking advantage of the high costs of litigation. Furthermore, often times the legal laws that apply to Internet crimes make it difficult for claimants to prevail. ICANN provides businesses with another alternative to litigation. The only difference between the two avenues is that the ICANN arbitration system does not provide damages. However, in situations where the trademark owner is only looking to cancel the domain name, damages would not apply. Isn’t it time for businesses to fight back and not only stop the current regime of cyber bullies, but prevent others from finding new ways to profit off legitimate businesses by squashing their incentive: money? Wouldn’t you rather pay ICANN than a cybersquatter?

Image Link: http://www.cio.com/article/2980291/cyber-attacks-espionage/4-new-cybercrime-trends-threaten-your-business.html


15 U.S.C. § 1125(d)