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What Legal Actions Can Cybersquatting Victims Take?

24th January, 2020

Posted by ESQwire

Cybersquatting can be incredibly detrimental to your business. With the ever-growing importance of an online presence and the need to maintain a presence that is not dependent on the terms of a third-party platform (like Facebook, Instagram Twitter, or YouTube), owning a domain name and website is paramount.  

If you discover that you are the victim of cybersquatting, do you know what legal actions you can take against the squatters? At ESQwire, our Firm understands the harm that cybersquatters can cause and are here to provide your company with top-quality legal representation in your case. To learn more about your legal options, call or contact our office today for a free consultation with an experienced intellectual property attorney today.


What is Cybersquatting?

Cybersquatting occurs when someone registers, uses, or sells the domain name of another company in order to profit from their trademark. Typically, cybersquatters will buy domain names of existing companies before those businesses had an opportunity to create their own website in order to sell the domain back to the companies at an incredibly high price. Cybersquatters also sometimes purchase domain names that are extremely close to the names of well-known businesses (typosquatting) that those companies may wish to acquire in order to redirect traffic to the correct website.


What Options Do I Have to Deal With Cybersquatters?

There are many options for dealing with cybersquatters that have taken control of your company’s domain name. Before you leap into action, it is important that you understand the law, your rights, and remedies. Often you may find that initiating a legal claim might not be the preferred approach and you may also find that after a detailed review of the facts, you may not have as strong of a case as you thought. Contact our firm to understand your rights and options.

At the outset, the most straightforward option when dealing with a cybersquatter is to pay the holder for the domain name. This is typically the fastest option and sometimes the cheapest option for managing issues of cybersquatting. However, this method can also be extremely expensive if your cybersquatter wants a significant amount of money in order to release the domain associated with your business. You should consult with a counsel before contacting the domain owner.

Another option for dealing with a cybersquatter on your domain name is to file a lawsuit against the holder of the domain. This can be done by filing a lawsuit in Federal Court under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). The holder of the domain name is required to respond to the lawsuit, and failure to do so can result in a default judgment in your company’s favor. However, this method often takes longer than paying a cybersquatter for the domain and can be very expensive and time-consuming as you are required to navigate the courts.

A third option is to use the international arbitration system that was designed by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Under ICANN, a trademark owner can pursue the domain name through arbitration under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The complaining trademark owner must be able to prove that: they own a valid trademark; the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to their company’s trademark; that the cybersquatter has no legitimate interest in the domain name; and that the domain has been registered and used in bad faith. Each of the elements of the UDRP may appear on their face easy to establish, however, the facts may not be so clear after a thorough review.  What makes the UDRP attractive is its speed and relative cost-effectiveness. If you can establish all three elements of the UDRP and are successful, the domain is transferred to you for your legitimate use.


Call or Contact Our Office Today

To discuss your legal and alternative options for dealing with a cybersquatter than has targeted your business’ trademark, call or contact the experienced intellectual property attorneys at ESQwire today. Schedule a free appointment to discuss what can be done in your cybersquatter case now.


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