cybersquatting

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cybersquatting

Registering an Internet domain name that sounds similar to a widely known company or product. For example, if fancy-shirts.com were a popular clothing site, a cybersquatter might register FancyShirtsClothing.com and hope to rank high on a search engine's results page, also by including related words in the hidden tags of its Web pages. The site might sell a competitive product or make money from ads (see domain parking).

Instead of registering similar-sounding names, cybersquatters might register the common misspellings of popular domain names (see URL hijacking).

Anti-Cybersquatting: ACPA and UDRP
In 1999, the U.S. government passed the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), which enables trademark holders to obtain civil damages up to USD $100,000 from cybersquatters. While not directly outlawing cybersquatting, it was an attempt to improve the situation.

Also in 1999, ICANN created the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) to resolve cybersquatting disputes. If not resolved, trademark holders may still take legal action under ACPA. For more information, visit www.icann.org/en/udrp/udrp.htm. See URL hijacking, page hijacking and domaining.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cybersquatters are particularly adept at mining the value of trademarks as used in domain names.
The new TLDs create new opportunities for cybersquatters (who register others' trademarks) and typosquatters (who register misspellings of others' trademarks).
When faced with a potential cybersquatter, to determine whether legal action is warranted, a trademark owner should consider whether there is a likelihood of confusion arising from the use and or registration of the disputed domain name (or a likelihood of dilution in the case of famous marks) and, if so, whether the bad faith factors set forth in the act or the resolution policy apply to the facts of the case.
If the complainant proves that a cybersquatter used bad faith in registering a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to the complainant's trademark, the domain name will be canceled or transferred to the complainant.
Harrods also ruled that trade-mark owners may bring suits for domain name infringement under the ACPA, even if the cybersquatter was not acting in bad faith--which brings the ACPA's standards for infringement in line with conventional trademark practices.
The guide also includes information on the legal status of domain names as "property," the clash between trademark rights and free-speech rights, and the remedies a trademark owner has against an alleged cybersquatter.
The most general definition of a cybersquatter is a person who registers a domain name that matches a well-known company for the purpose of ransoming it to that company.
It didn't take a wizard to figure out that more than 100 domain names containing the words "Harry Potter" wouldn't stay long in the hands of an alleged cybersquatter after media giant Time Warner complained to Internet authorities.