With the growing popularity of internet, all business owners have started to realize the importance to have their own business website to serve the mass. So, it is quite a usual scenario that while starting a new business, one plans to have a website dedicated to the business. Nevertheless, people do not always go forward with the idea of creating the website right away in the beginning.
However, in this increasing crowd of business websites and the quest to secure the best domain names for them, one must keep in mind that creating a website can be postponed but the domain name for the same should be registered as early as the plan to design a website strikes. This is a wise step if you are planning to create a website in the future so as to secure the domain name as your own before anyone else registers the same.
The registration process goes as follows:
At first, the applicant files an application for ICANN’s registrars with a domain name of his/her choice. If the domain name is available, that is, if it is not already registered, then the applicant needs to pay a fee. That completes the process and the applicant legally gets the ownership of the domain name.
This might be the case sometimes when the domain name you choose is already registered by someone else priorly. To get the claims of the domain name you want, you can opt for any of the two ways. One option is to come to an agreement to directly buy the registered domain name from the original owner. If this one does not work for your favor then you might have to go for the other way. Pursuing the other option is a bit tricky as it is usually not a very successful option. It is when companies hire lawyers to get hold of an already registered domain.
What is Cybersquatting?
Cybersquatting is the unfair practice to register names as internet domains that are of popular brands or companies so as to use their popularity in an attempt to make profit by reselling them.
However the practice of registering standard domain names for the purpose of selling them is not considered as cybersquatting provided the name does not consist of any other popular brand or company.
Cybersyatting has various types:
Typosquatting: this type of cybersquatting involves registering pre registered domain names with very slight changes in them. The changes are done based on the frequent typing mistakes users make while searching for an URL. These domain names may include intentionally misspelled or differently phrased names of a popular domain name. It may also be done by creating a domain name with a different domain than the original.
Identity Theft : In this type, cybersquaters track down those pre registered domain names that has not been renewed and use such domain names to register as their own. When users visit their website they often falsely assume it to be a website from the original owner.
Name Jacking : A particular name is eligible to avail protection for its trademark if it has any distinctive significance or is associated to any well known brand; for example a name of a celebrity. Any random name cannot avail trademark protection as such a name can belong to more than one person in a geographic area.
The cybersquatters usually targets the names of the famous people to use them in or as their domain name.
Reverse cybersquatting : This is done by simply Imposing pressure to the original owner to transfer the ultimate ownership of a domain name to another person or company.
Laws to secure Domain names:
ICANN or Internet Corporation for Assigned names and Numbers is a legitimate organization was found in the year of 1998 in the United States. It does not claim any profit for itself but was introduced as an act to secure the process and aftermath of domain registration. It manages the ownership of a Domain System.
ICANN has executed the UDNDRP in the year 1999. This policy was formed so as to resolve any dispute concerning domain names. Therefore, UDNDRP or the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy can also be used to recover a cybersquatted domain name. A company can claim cybersquatting using the UDRP if they find themselves as the victim of cybersquatting.
That is when experts determine if the claim is genuine or not. If they find it is, then they make the cybersquatted domain name to be transferred back to the actual owner/ company. One can also sort the dispute by appealing to the court. The USA government has also established an Anticybersquating Consumer Protection Act to benefit a company victim of cybersquating, to fine a case against the cybersquatter. Under this act, a company can sue the accused cybersquatter in the federal court and can reclaim the domain name as its own. The cybersquatters are often made to pay monitory compensation.
Using trademark rights under the UDNDRP is an easier, cheaper and faster way than to involve court action. That is why it is mostly always preferred by companies/ brands.
However, to claim a cybersquatting case, a company needs to prove a few things to the UDRP for them to verify the case to be of merit.
The cybersquatted domain is identical or be uncannily similar to the original name.The cybersquatter has bad faith intention to make profit by taking advantage of your trademark.The original domain name or the trade mark was unique during the time of registration.The trademark is qualified for receiving protection from federal laws because of it being distinct before anyone else snapped it.
However, if the accused cybersquatter is able to prove to the court that the intention to register the domain name was not to earn profit using the goodwill of the brand/ company, then the court may let him continue to have the domain name.
For you to claim rightful ownership of a cybersquatted domain name, you must be well aware of what exactly qualifies as cybersquatting and what does not. It is best to consult a professional lawyer who particularly holds knowledge about the UDNDRP laws before filing any case. Also, if you are about to start a new business, you can’t have any cybersquatting claim. In that case, you start with a domain name for your business.