How Can Your Florida Business Fight Cybersquatters
An online presence is a critical part of business in the modern world. For many businesses, this includes both an active social media presence as well as a functioning website. Of course, this means that your business will want to grab the best web address available. However, in many cases, your ideal domain name will have already been taken. Much of the time, this means that your business is simply out of luck. You will have to think of an alternative domain name. Though, in some limited cases, you may be able to take legal action to secure your desired domain name. Specifically, if your company was the victim of cybersquatting, you might have the right to obtain the domain address from the bad-acting party.
What is Cybersquatting?
Cybersquatting occurs when a person or business obtains a domain name for the sole purpose of
profiting off of goodwill created by another commercial actor. In other words, your business may have been the victim of cybersquatting if another party bought a web address associated with your brand and tried to sell it back to the you at a steep price. At its core, cybersquatting is a bad faith practice. It is also unlawful. To be clear, there is a difference between cybersquatting and the legitimate practice of domain name investing. A person can buy a domain name in the hopes that they will go up in value so that they can sell it in the future. That is an acceptable business practice. However, a person may not intentionally target a name associated with a trademark protected brand in order to extract profit.
Do You Have the Right to a Domain Name?
In order to prevail in a cybersquatting claim, you must prove that you have a right to obtain a domain name. This will only occur if your company has a trademark that is associated with the domain name in question. These type of disputes are governed by a 1999 law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). Under this legislation, a cybersquatting claim requires that the plaintiff to prove each of the following four elements:
- The claim is being brought in relation to a brand that has trademark protection;
- The brand was distinctive before the date that the domain name was registered by the defendant;
- The defendant registered the domain name in bad faith; and
- The domain name is similar enough to the trademark protected brand that it could potentially cause confusion in the mind of a reasonable consumer.
If your company can meet all four of those elements, then you may be able to acquire the possession of the domain name from the cybersquatter.
Do You Need Legal Advice?
Our West Palm Beach commercial litigation attorneys can help. At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our team has handled a wide variety of trademark and brand-related legal disputes, including cybersquatting claims. If your company has been the victim of cybersquatting, please do not hesitate to call us today at (561) 291-8298 to schedule a free review of your case. We represent businesses throughout Southeast Florida, including in Miami and Coral Gables.