Trademark Cybersquatting, Typosquatting & Trademark Domain Name Infringement
What is Trademark Cybersquatting?
Trademark cybersquatting is when someone registers, uses or traffics in a domain name in bad faith, which is confusingly similar to your trademark. Your trademark can be your own domain name itself, a trademark protected brand or slogan or your company name. Cybersquatting is one of the few unlawful activities wherein congress has provided for “statutory damages” of up to $100,000 per domain name. Congress has also provided for the potential of attorney fee awards if there has been a finding of bad faith trademark cybersquatting.
While a domain dispute can take on many forms, cybersquatting is by far the most common trademark infringement issue which an internet lawyer has to assess on behalf of his/her client. When someone registers a domain name with the bad faith intent to profit from your valuable trademark, you need to take it seriously. A cybersquatting attorney can help you better understand your options under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) or the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).
What is the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA)?
The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act or ACPA is a federal law passed by congress in 1999 designed to preclude third parties from registering domain names with the bad faith intent to profit off of a third party trademark. In order to provide a disincentive to domain registrants from registering domain names which are confusingly similar to a trademark, congress provided for statutory damages and the potential for attorney fee awards for any defendant who is found liable for engaging in bad faith trademark cybersquatting. A cybersquatting attorney can help you better understand the ACPA, including the possible approaches for prosecuting or defending an allegation of trademark cybersquatting.
What is the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)?
The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy is a policy enacted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in order to provide administrative remedy for trademark owners to obtain a transfer order over a particular domain name. Essentially, a UDRP attorney will help you prosecute or defend a UDRP arbitration involving a domain dispute involving trademark rights. The UDRP only provides for an arbitration panel to order the registrar to transfer a domain name registered with the bad faith intent to profit off of a third party trademark to the trademark owner. No damages or attorney fees are possible. One fundamental difference between the ACPA and UDRP is that the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy requires complainant to prove that respondent “registered” the domain name in bad faith. The ACPA provides liability for any domain owner who “registers, traffics or uses” a domain name with a bad faith intent to profit off of a third party trademark.
How can a cybersquatting attorney help me protect my trademark against domain name infringement?
If you have identified a domain name which is confusingly similar to your trademark or your domain name, and you believe that the domain registrant is trying to divert your customers to their web site, you need the best attorney for the job. A cybersquatting attorney knows how to handle these matters in cost-effective and efficient way. Whether it is sending or responding to cybersquatting threat letter, filing a UDRP arbitration proceeding or filing an Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) lawsuit or case against an infringing party, a cybersquatting lawyer will be able to advise you concerning your options and the costs of proceeding.
What is Typosquatting?
Typosquatting is registering typographical variations of third party trademark protected domain names in order to divert traffic from the trademark owner based on the consumer’s misspelling of your mark or typographical error in entering your domain name into the browser address bar. Typosquatting is a particularly nefarious version of cybersquatting in that there can be no legitimate purpose to registering to a typographical variation of a trademark protected domain name in many instances.