Protecting Your Company’s Domain Name

By on September 27, 2018

Executive Summary of an article written by
Sharon Urias and Todd Langford, Greenspoon Marder

Nearly all successful businesses maintain an online presence, often incorporating the company’s trademark into the domain name. It is highly advisable to monitor the use of your trademark on the Internet. Other entities may seek to use similar domains to pull unwitting customers from your website (cybersquatting). If you believe that someone is engaging in cybersquatting, the first step is to send a cease and desist letter. If you do not know who owns the domain or the domain owner does not respond, your recourse is arbitration or litigation.

An arbitration panel will consider the similarity of the domain name to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; the rights or legitimate interests of the domain name holder in the domain name; and whether the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Once the panel reaches a decision, the service provider will distribute the ruling.

If either party is unhappy with the arbitration’s outcome, it can file a lawsuit against the other party, which may be filed at the location of the registrar or the domain name holder. If you prevail in arbitration, you should be prepared to defend against a reverse domain name hijacking lawsuit. Should you lose in arbitration, you may choose to file your own court action in the appropriate federal district, alleging claims, among others, for violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) and other provisions of the Lanham Act.

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