United States federal law enacted the ACPA to provide a remedy for cybersquatting. Cybersquatting requires a domain registrant to register, traffic in, or use a domain name that incorporates "a mark that is distinctive at the time of registration of the domain name, identical or confusingly similar to that mark, and possess "a bad faith intent to profit" from that mark. As cybersquatters become more sophisticated and trademark holders become more intent on protecting their intellectual property, new names have been used to more specifically define the kind of cybersquatting. Nonetheless, the ACPA elements required above remain the same for the following forms of cybersquatting.
Typosquatting capitalizes off of the typographical errors made when typing a domain name into the web. Misspellings, the addition of www (e.g. www.wwwcnn.com), and additional or different top-level domains (e.g. www.cnncom.com or www.cnn.org) are common typosquatting errors. Typosquatting is particularly harmful to trademark owners and domain monitoring and defensive domain name registrations are effective way to minimize this form of cybersquatting.
Pornosquatting is a variation of typosquatting. A pornosquatter forces a domain name to resolve or redirect to a website containing pornographic material. This form of cybersquatting can be one of the most harmful to a trademark holder's image and should be remedied as soon as possible.
This list is not all inclusive and the ways cybersquatters are capitalizing off of the valuable trademarks of others are constantly evolving. An experienced cybersquatting attorney can provide proactive ways to avoid some of these forms of cybersquatting. A cybersquatting attorney can also provide advice and a solution when a trademark owner has been the victim of one of these forms of cybersquatting.
Domain tasting occurs when domain registrants use the free five-day domain registration grace period to test or "taste" the amount of traffic and ad revenue a particular domain name can generate. The decision of whether or not to keep the domain beyond the grace period depends upon the profitability of the domain name.
Domain kiting, a variation of domain tasting, occurs when domain registrants repeatedly abuse the five-day domain registration grace period by deleting the domain name before the grace period expires and then re-registering the domain name to reset the grace period. This allows domain kiters to postpone payment for the domain name.
Cybersquatters use various technology tools to register domain names after the domain name registrant fails to renew the domain. Domain lapse can happen to any domain name registrant for failure to pay the annual registration fee. While the redemption periods of domain registrars may provide a "second chance" of sorts for domain name registrants, proper domain name portfolio management can prevent what can become a costly oversight.
One of the more popular cybersquatting topics of late, domain frontrunning occurs when a domain name availability search of the so-called public WHOIS database by an interested and potential domain name registrant causes the particular registrar to register the domain name and force the potential domain name registrant to purchase the domain through that particular registrar. The solution is simple - use one of the various proprietary WHOIS databases, such as Domain Tools, that will not front run the domain.
While this form of cybersquatting has had its definition change over the years, domain warehousing allows a registrar as well as a registrant to accumulate domain names incorporating the valuable trademarks of known trademark owners. Particularly harmful to registered trademark owners, domain warehousing is strong evidence of bad faith.
Domain name disputes are becomming more common as trademark holders start to realize the extent of the problem, also know as cyber-piracy (theft of traffic). It is critical for the industry to 'grow up' and ensure that its best domaining practices are being discussed and enforced within the domain name community.
Posted by: Enrico S | 02/06/2008 at 08:52
Why does ICANN sit by while these practices run rampant? Typo-squatting, domain tasting, domain kiting and domain front running are all used to cybersquat en masse. Without the tools of mass cybersquatting enabled by the UDRP and ICANN, the practice would end because the money would not add up big enough or fast enough.
Posted by: Cyber-Squatting Trademarks | 01/28/2008 at 20:53