It was recently reported by Cyveillance, a leader in cyber intelligence reporting, that suspicious domain registrations have increased for corporations. However, cybersquatting, typosquatting, and other forms of cyberpiracy do not only plague “large enterprises” with “master brands.” Cybersquatting effects all types of entities - from the individual business owner with a common law trademark, to the mid-sized company with newly established trademarks and multiple domain name registrations, to the mega-corporations with hundreds or thousands of domain name registrations and trademark registrations with the USPTO and internationally. Cyveillance’s report simply confirms that which these entities should already know – cybersquatting is a growing problem that requires careful attention.
While identification of the cybersquatters is an important step, it is both the prevention of cybersquatting and the remedying of cybersquatting that is equally, if not more, important. Preventing cybersquatting requires knowing which defensive domain name registrations to seek. Given the almost infinite number of domain name registrations that can occur, understanding which domain names are critical to an entity’s brand (trademark, service mark, trade name) and online protection is required. Defensive domain name registrations increases your domain name portfolio while preventing cybersquatting on critical domains. In addition, having filed for, monitored, and maintained the trademarks and service marks that could be incorporated into a domain name can help deter cybersquatters.
Unfortunately, prevention can only go so far. As cybersquatting continues to increase, it is likely only a matter of time before your domain name, website, and business are affected. There will come a time when you must act and go after the cybersquatter. Assuming there is more than one domain name that is cybersquatting upon your valuable trademark or service mark, prioritizing which domains to seek based upon traffic can ensure a greater return on your investment. The question then becomes how to stop the cybersquatting and obtain the cybersquatted domain. Threat letter campaigns, the UDRP, and lawsuits under the ACPA are all viable options. An experienced domain name attorney with a trademark background can perform the necessary research, identify the best possible solution, and recommend how to proceed in light of risk and reward. Successfully challenging a cybersquatter, retrieving what was once a cybersquatted domain name, and exhibiting your commitment to protecting your trademarks, service marks, and domain name portfolio all help to reduce the likelihood that you will be victimized by cybersquatting. Contact us today for advice and assistance with your cybersquatting matters.