Cybersquatting & Domain Dispute Attorneys / Lawyers: The Global 100 Draw Attention To The Increasing Threat of Cybersquatting

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12/02/2007

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I agree with the comment in the article concerning the fact that the cybercriminals who commit these fraudulent practices are getting smarter. It seems that there are civil remedies which result in the cybersquatters or other cybercriminals who commit these fraudulent practices to temporarily abandon their fraudulent enterprise, but it seems they simply move on to the next fraudulent venture without further penalty. Why not?

Has there been any discussion on an international basis concerning the criminalization and prosecution of repeat cybersquatters or others who intentionally take advantage of legitimate individuals and businesses whose goodwill and branding are being hijacked? It seems cyber space is ripe for the proliferation of the cyber outlaw and the legitimate business owner or trademark holder is stuck with the simple remedy of evicting the trespasser without any further penalty to the criminal. Without punitive measures these problems are bound to get worse.

1.  I am interested in Mr. Drewsen talking more about the specifics of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACCPA)

Some possible ideas:
a. What are the basics of this statute's operation?
b. Is the statute an effective protection for major brand-owners against cybersquatting?
c. besides the ACCPA, is there any other recourse for brand-owners affected by cybersquatting?  What about recourse against typosquatting, which isn't included under the ACCPA?
d. what changes would you like to see to the ACCPA that could better protect brand-owners?  Tougher penalties?  Lower burden of proof for brand-owner plaintiffs?
e. It has been almost 8 years since the ACCPA went into effect.  Has it been successful?

2. I am also interested in hearing Mr. Drewsen talk more about INTA

a. What are some of the present goals of INTA?
b. How does INTA see itself accomplishing these goals?
c. Is the best way to protect brand-owners and consumers from cybersquatting achieved through legislation? Or are there other alternatives?
d. If more robust anti-cybersquatting legislation is a goal of INTA, what role can INTA play in making changes to ACCPA?

3. Cybersquatting presents several dangers for consumers, as expressed in the previous interview with Mr. Drewsen:

a. Are consumer protection groups aware of this danger?  Or is it still new or unknown territory for them?
b. does the INTA work with any consumer protection groups to create awareness of the dangers of cybersquatting and typosquatting?
c. What efforts do brand-owners need to make to adequately protect consumers from misuse of their brand by cybersquatters and typosquatters?

All great questions John. There are no doubt flaws in the system. Legitimate domainers think the cards are stacked against them. Trademark holders know that the UDRP is inadequate to address mass bad faith cybersquatting and especially typosquatting. We do know that alleged cybersquatters are fighting back under the UDRP at increasing rates. The UDRP is very technical, thereby supporting technical defenses. Many domain squatters are now messaging their business models to provide those technical defenses. For instance, they are registering domains in Cayman Island companies with the same name as the URL to make it appear legitimate. They are using Digg.com style sites to give the appearance of something different than a standard link site. They are defending the bad faith intent issue by arguing that software is optimizing the links, to explain why Complainants' competitors URL is showing up as an ad link.

There is also the problem of scope. Many high traffic web sites have hundreds of typosquatters infringing their marks. There is NO QUESTION of their bad faith intent (ie www.wwwmicrosoftcom.com). Identifying these squatters with WhoIs privacy and domain proxy issues becomes daunting. The cost of protecting your trademarks in cyberspace is becoming more challenging.

As mass bad faith cybersquatters are getting more sophisticated, so must the UDRP.

How does the INTA feel about recent NAF decisions that indicate that contextual pay-per-click services that (potentially) link to competitors may be recognized as a legitimate business for UDRP purposes. Does the INTA feel that pay-per-click advertising on parked domains constitutes a legitimate business, or does it cause customer confusion?

What is the INTA's take on the "purchasing" or selection of arbitrators in NAF proceedings? Does the INTA believe that this lends to decidability and a sense of objectivity or balance in NAF decisions, or does it create negative incentives and bad precedent in favor of cybersquatters?

What is the INTA's position on domain auctions? Does it feel that domains that are registered before the registration of a concurrent trademark should be subject to the workings of the market, or does the INTA presume that a trademark holder has a right to a domain evidencing a newly-registered mark at a price determined by the cost to the first registrant--in other words, does the INTA believe that first registrants have a right to make a profit at the expensive of its members if the first registrant registered in good faith?

Also, what changes would the INTA propose to deal with subjective decisions, a lack of precedent, and general sophistry in NAF and WIPO decisions?

Is there a place for domain warehousers and domain speculation of generic terms in the vision of the future of the INTA? What changes have you proposed to the WHOIS database? How can we balance the benefits of private registration with the need to identify registrants for service of process?

Cybersquatting is out of control. I checked typos of our domain and there were 30 squatters. Am I supposed to file UDRP actions against them all???

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