A carefully chosen, memorable domain name can be a valuable asset and part of the overall corporate brand for many online companies.
So organisations need to ensure they have appropriate rights over their chosen domain name
Hosting services now provide you with the chance to purchase your domain name. Make sure that if you are using a third-party to register the domain name that it is done in your company’s name.
By registering a domain name, you enter into a contract of registration with the domain name registrar on the following conditions, which includes conditions limiting the registrar's liability. This contract is just for the domain name and separate to any arrangement you may have with any other organisation for providing internet services.
The contract of registration will include:
- Dispute resolution service police and procedure;
- Additional rules of registration and domain name use
Consider also registering domain names that are similar to, or a derivative of, your corporate or trading name(s) and/or trademarks.
‘My Company Limited’ also has a trademark product ‘His&Hers™’. Consider
- mycompany.com; his&hers.com
- mycompany.co.uk; his&hers.co.uk
- mycompany.biz; his&hers.biz
- mycompany.org; his&hers.org
- mycompany.eu; his&hers.eu
Domain Name Registers
Most countries have a domain name registrar to manage the top level domains, or tlds for the appropriate country. You can always check you domain name registrations with the relevant supervisory authorities.
For a full list of top level domains plus domain registrars, please visit Wikipedia
Cybersquatting is the registration of a domain name containing another person’s brand or trademark in a domain name, and done in bad faith.
Once the domain name is registered, the cybersquatter can place advertisements on a website linked to that domain name, and collect income any time an Internet user clicks on one of those advertisements. Alternatively, the cybersquatter may seek to sell the domain name to the legitimate trademark holder at an over-inflated price.
Some common examples of cybersquatting include:
- The omission of the “dot” in the domain name: wwwexample.com;
- A common misspelling of the intended site: exemple.com
- A differently phrased domain name: examples.com
- A different top-level domain: example.org
Trademark owners should not underestimate the harmful effects that cybersquatting has on their business and on the goodwill associated with their trademarks. Cybersquatters hope that trademark owners will simply ignore their misconduct as a minor problem. In reality, however, the problem is much more severe. Cybersquatters count on Internet users going to their websites by mistake.
Dealing with cybersquatting
First, don't panic. Victims of cybersquatting have several options to chose from though finding a remedy may take time.
- Send a cease-and-desist letter
A trade mark owner can send a cease-and-desist letter to the cybersquatter demanding that the domain is returned immediately. Make it clear that you will file a lawsuit with serious consequences for the cybersquatter if the letter is not complied with.
- Get more aggressive
Some countries have specific legislation to deal with cybersquatters. In the United States it's the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA”). The Act enables trademark owners to file lawsuits against cybersquatters in the United States federal courts, and allows for the recovery of up to $100,000 per domain name in damages from the cybersquatter, plus costs and fees.
ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) has rules governing domain names disputes, as do national domain name registrars. Contact your local registrar who will be able to guide you.