Learn Domaining Versus Cybersquatting

Learn Domaining Versus Cybersquatting

Domain investors and cybersquatters both register the domain names with the intention of selling them for a profit. The primary difference between these two is one the first registers domain for good faith and the latter registers for the bad faith. But these two are not actually the same type of domain investors. When your business needs going online then obviously you will land to a domain registrar website in order to register the domain name. But later you know that the domain name you have been thinking of has already been taken by someone else. This can be very disappointing to you that the best name is no more available. It means that someone even before you also thought the same domain name actually was a good one and registered it before you do. Most domain investors register from few to even thousands of domain name in their name. When someone else owns any number of domains and isn’t using it, this doesn’t make them a cybersquatter. Professional domainer follows future prospects, industry, market, and social trends, to occupy new names before anyone else does. They do their best by avoiding registering other company’s patents, trademarks, and intellectual property rights.

Many people while selecting a domain name choose a name that is memorable and represents their company name, product, and service. If your company is growing and is valuable among the public, then you should be aware of typo-squatters. You might consider registering different forms of your domain names and in different extensions as well. For example, if you own your domain name in the .com extension then try registering in .net and .org  extension or whichever is more important to you.

According to ICANN, “Cybersquatting is generally bad faith registration of another’s trademark in a domain name”. If someone registered a domain name in a generic top-level domain (gTLD) operating under contract with ICANN similar to your trademark, you may be able to file a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceeding. If you are interested in trying to buy a domain that is already owned by someone else, then you can search the owner via a Whois lookup from www.lookup.icann.org. ICANN, the non-profit regulatory body that is responsible for managing the domain name system, requires each domain owner’s contact information to be placed into a publicly available Whois database. You can use this database to contact the owner to see if he or she is willing to sell.

A mark comprised of a domain name may be registered as a Trademark or Servicemark in the U.S.A. Patent and Trademark Office. However, just like any other mark, the domain name is registerable only if it is distinctive and capable of distinguishing your goods or services from those of others.

If you use the term ‘WordPress’ as suffix, prefix or in the middle of your domain name, like wordpressndnthemes.com, ndnwordpressthemes.com and even if your intention was good just to promote your business, then here technically you’re guilty of cybersquatting without even noticing. However, there’s another legal practice involving domain names that can lead to illegal activity of masking. It’s easy for a scammer to purchase “amaz0n.com” or “paypaI.com” (that’s a capital zero instead of O and I instead of the L, you couldn’t believe yes!), then scammers can send you emails pretending to be the real company. You land on a fake website where they steal your information, accept payments for products you’ll never receive or even install viruses on your computer.

The domain name would not be entitled to trademark registration if, for example, it is descriptive such as the general term “shoes” as the name of a shoe store you own and not sufficiently arbitrary, or suggestive to merit trademark protection, then merely adding a top-level domain (TLD) designation, such as “.com”, does not alleviate the deficiency. This rule is consistent with well -established trademark law, holding that adding suffixes such as “Corp”, “Inc.” or “Co.” to a generic or descriptive term does not add any trademark significance and is, therefore, not to be considered part of a mark.

A domain name case filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO) is normally concluded within two months, using on-line procedures, whereas litigation can take much longer. Fees are also much lower than normal litigation. There are no in-person hearings, except in extraordinary cases. Minimal filing requirements also help reduce costs. For the resolution of a case involving one to five domain names, with a single panelist, the current cost is US$ 1,500; for three panelists, the total cost is US$ 4,000. For six to ten domain names, the current cost is US$ 2,000 for a case involving a sole panelist and US$ 5,000 for a case involving three panelists. 

However, if you still want a domain name that someone else has registered, then available choices are waiting the domain to expire, and then register it before someone else. Try contacting and offering the registrant who has already registered it. Well if you have a stronger claim to the domain with supporting facts like trademarks, patents, and legitimate running business, then you may be able to use a dispute resolution procedure online. There are different registrar regulating authorities who look for disputes over different available domain extensions. The ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)  also looks domain disputes over major gTLD’s like .com, .net, .org, and other popular extensions and requires a mandatory, low-cost administrative procedure primarily to resolve claims of abusive and ownership disputes.