Cybersquatting refers to the practice of registering, trafficking, or using a domain name with the intent to profit from the goodwill or reputation of someone else’s trademark or brand. In other words, it involves registering domain names that are identical or similar to existing trademarks, brands, or well-known names, with the intention of selling them at a higher price or extracting some form of benefit from the legitimate trademark owner. Cybersquatters often target popular brands, celebrities, or generic terms in the hope of exploiting their value. They may register domain names that incorporate the trademarked name or misspellings of it, or add prefixes or suffixes to the name. By doing so, they attempt to deceive internet users and divert traffic intended for the legitimate trademark owner to their own website.
Generally considered an unethical practice, cybersquatting may also infringe upon the intellectual property rights of legitimate trademark owners, as it can lead to confusion among consumers, damage the reputation of the brand or trademark, and potentially result in financial loss for the legitimate owner.
To combat cybersquatting, trademark owners can take legal action under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA”) in the U.S. or pursue domain name dispute resolution processes such as the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) or the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (“URS”).