What is cybersquatting?
Cybersquatting refers to using a domain name (a domain name is part of the address which is assigned to each computer or service on the internet) which is registered and most likely to be wanted by another person, company or organization in order to be sold by them at a higher selling price. It involves registration of trademarks and trade names as domain names by someone who has a motive of selling but doesn’t rightfully own it.
Cybersquatters who perform this act by registering the trade names, business, company’s name or even website domain names under famous people. The act is to confuse the potential customers for the goodwill and reputation for brand name or to eventually sell the domain name to make a profit.
Laws in India and elsewhere..
Sadly in India, we don’t have Domain Name Protection Law. Cybersquatting cases are resolved under Trade Mark Act, 1999. A trademark and domain name are differentiated on the basis of how they are enacted to perform. A trademark is a company’s logo, design or recognizable sign which identifies with the original source; whereas a domain name same or nearly same as the trademark but owned by someone with the motive of confusing the customers, redirect the potential clients and/ or selling it to the original company with a profit.
While many countries don’t have the said law and others are working towards it. The U. S. federal system has an Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.
How to catch a cybersquatting act or guidelines to follow for self-awareness:
In India dispute regarding the registration under bad faith are resolved using the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) process developed by the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
Using ICANN procedure:
• A person can complain before the administrative dispute resolution service providers listed by ICANN under Rule 4A that:
1. A domain name is “identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark” in which the complainant has rights and
2. The domain name has been registered and had been used in bad faith
3. The domain owner/registrant has no right or legitimate interest towards the domain name
• Check where the domain name takes you: As a general rule, firstly check to see if the domain name takes you to a website. If it does not take you to a functioning website, but instead takes you to a site stating “this domain name for sale,” or “under construction,” or “can’t find a server,” the likelihood increases that you are dealing with a cybersquatter.
• Contact the domain name registrant: Contacting the domain name registrant will clear your thoughts and you can reach a reasonable conclusion if the explanation provided by the registrant is valid or not. If the registrant is willing to sell you the domain, it makes sense to pay the price. It is cheapest and quickest way to get away from a situation where a court case may be involved.