How registration of trademarks can kill cybersquatters?
What is cybersquatting?
Cybersquatting is an internet terminology that involves registering a domain name of interest to someone else (e.g. a business of that name) in the hope of selling it for a profit. This is mostly done with an intention, inter alia, to place online ads, divert traffic, cause confusion, damage reputation online, etc.
Can you register your name under all extensions?
Gone are the days where TLDs( top level domain names) were limited to .com, .net., .org. The TLD list is growing every single day with new domain extension being introduced every year such as .me, .biz., .xxx., etc. Due to this fact, one cannot keep buying all the domains which also adds an additional burden of renewal every year or after the initial subscription period.
From generic domain extensions like .com and .aero to ccTLDs like .in, there are a lot of domain extensions out there. Making things even more complicated, new ones are introduced every year. But just how many are there right now? According to ICANN, the answer is 280. Of these, 248 are country-code names, 11 are in testing, and 20 are generic TLDs. Finally, there’s one extension, .arpa, that is used exclusively to run the Internet’s DNS system. With the introduction of the new gTLD system next year, expect to see a large increase in the number of extensions.
So, registering your domain name under all extensions is practically not possible and comes with a heavy bill of approximately $6 as an average cost for a domain per year, calculating to $1680 per year, which small to medium businesses cannot afford.
How registration of trademark can help you? How Twitter handled his case of cybersquatting?
This is best explained by the case involving Twitter, a popular microblogging and social networking site and another entity, which reportedly registered twitter.org.
Twitter, Inc. v. Moniker Privacy Services/ accueil des solutions inc, Case No. D2013-0062
The Complainant is Twitter, Inc. of San Francisco, California, United States of America, represented by Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, United States of America and the Respondent is Moniker Privacy Services of Pompano Beach, Florida, United States of America / accueil des solutions inc of Vancouver, Canada.
The disputed domain name <twitter.org> is registered with Gransy, s.r.o. d/b/a subreg.cz (the “Registrar”).
In this case, Twitter argued that the disputed domain name was a clear typo of the Complainant’s registered trademark TWITTER. Twitter further contended that the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain name. There was no evidence that the Respondent owned registrations for any trademarks containing the term TWITTER or used that name or mark as its trade name or business identity; neither was there evidence that the Respondent provided goods or services that are identified or described by that term or any similar term. In his case, the Respondent did not reply to Twitter’s contentions.
Eventually, an order was passed in favor of Twitter and now if hit Twitter.org, you will be directed to Twitter.com. The whole facts of the case can be had from Twitter Cybersquatting Case.
Online presence has evolved into a necessity for many business entities, almost in all domains. On the other hand, cyberspace is an easy tool for promoting positivity or negativity.
Business entities having their presence in several countries and or looking forward to expanding it, should definitely look into registering their trademark through the Madrid Application or by filing individual national application before each offices.
Disclaimer: Information purposes only; no legal opinion. All third-party logos and trademarks are proprieties of respective trademark owners.