How do I tackle cybersquatting?

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Published on LexisPSL on 04/12/2013

The following TMT Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How do I tackle cybersquatting?
  • Main concept
  • Create a policy for dealing with cybersquatting
  • Investigate the website in question
  • Investigate the domain name registrant
  • Contact the domain name registrant
  • File a complaint
  • Decide whether litigation is a worthwhile option
  • Avoid or minimise future problems

Main concept

Cybersquatting involves a party registering an existing brand name (or something confusingly similar) as a domain name with the intention of selling it on at a profit, typically to the relevant brand owner. In the late 1990s, holding businesses and individuals to ransom generated vast profits for cybersquatters but now brand owners are generally more aware and quicker to register relevant domain names. In addition, inexpensive and simple complaint procedures can be used against cybersquatters in order to obtain a transfer of the domain name to its 'rightful' owner.

Create a policy for dealing with cybersquatting

Some well-known brands have a policy for tackling cybersquatting which helps to ensure resources are allocated in the most appropriate way. For example, a policy could:

  1. prioritise domain names that link to websites likely to cause brand damage and consumer confusion and potentially divert customers

  2. focus on certain jurisdictions

  3. create a system for dealing with less worrying activities, eg monitor the websites in question and track changes of ownership

  4. set a budget for purchasing domain names and dealing with complaints

Investigate the website in question

If the domain name does not connect to a legitimate website there may be grounds to suspect the registrant is a cybersquatter. If the domain name links to a holding page stating the site is for sale or comprises a list of links to

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