Practice Areas

Domain Names

How would you feel if someone stole your company’s address or its telephone number? Sounds unlikely. However, stealing the name of your company or a well known trademark for use in a domain name (a.k.a. cybersquatting) is a common threat. Sometimes, the domain name registrant is trying to high-jack traffic to the website. Other times, the registrant is just trying to extort money from the person who should rightfully own the domain.

There are remedies to stop cybersquatting. Under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP), the owner of a trademark may be able to cancel the domain name registration. The UDRP procedure cannot give damages or costs. However, it is, generally, less expensive than litigation.

There are also federal laws that provide for damages and costs against cybersquatters. Under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, the person must have a bad faith intent to profit from a distinctive or famous mark. However, the damages can be substantial (i.e. statutory damages up to $100,000 per name). Furthermore, you can combine multiple domain names in a single cybersquatting suit.

Some states are also adopting laws regarding misuse of others’ trademarks or domain names.