Domain Name Disputes
If Someone Registers a Domain Name that Violates Your Trademark Rights, You Have Legal Options.
If the page your potential customer is landing on infringes on your trademark rights, you can take legal action to reclaim your brand and avoid potentially damaging buyer confusion.
At Hutcherson Law, our team of highly skilled and experienced attorneys have a focus in Internet law and domain name disputes. We work to ensure that your business is not disrupted by similar domain.
Do You Have a Domain Name Dispute Case?
It’s easy to register a domain name, but that doesn’t give the owner legal rights to squat on the site or use it to violate your trademark. When someone registers a domain name, they are required to agree not to “infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any third party,” the term is in the text of the registration agreement, which is required by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In other words, if someone registers a domain name similar to yours, and they use it to either earn a profit from you or harm your brand, you have a case. In the most basic terms, if someone has registered a domain name that’s your trademark (or very similar to your trademark), you have a case.
How Can Hutcherson Law Handle My Domain Dispute Case?
Our legal team works to determine the authenticity of a domain by answering the following questions:
Is the domain in question the same or confusingly similar to your domain?
Does the party who registered it have legitimate rights or interests in the domain name?
Was the domain name registered in bad faith to interrupt your business flow?
Many people buy domain names that are close to another company’s trademarks with the end goal of ransoming them for a profit. Others use the domains to tarnish a brand or capture the attention of unsuspecting Internet users. In such cases, you have two legal options.
Option 1: Arbitrate
Arbitration is the simplest, fastest, and cheapest option. ICANN implemented a framework for arbitrating domain name disputes known as the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP). It gives businesses and individuals the ability to resolve domain name disputes without having to go to court.
This type of arbitration occurs entirely by written submission. It is designed to be fast and inexpensive. There are no court proceedings or personal jurisdiction concerns. The one downside is that if you win, you only get to recover the domain name in the dispute – you cannot recover monetary damages or attorney’s fees. Most people and businesses opt for this option because of it’s speed.
Option 2: File a Federal Lawsuit
The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) is part of the Federal Lanham Act, which covers trademark law. This statute gives trademark owners recourse when a third party registers a domain name similar to their trademark in bad faith.
Filing a federal lawsuit happens most often when:
- The third party attempts to ransom the domain name to you;
- The third party’s goal is to attract consumers from the trademark’s website to their own; or
- The third party has profited from use of the domain name.
A federal lawsuit takes longer to prosecute and is generally more expensive than the UDRP Arbitration Process, but the plaintiff can recover monetary damages.
We Represent Both Plaintiffs and Defendants in Domain Dispute Cases
Intellectual Property law often leads to a lot of confusion – especially when there are confusingly similar trademarks in question. As a successful and experienced domain dispute team of lawyers, Hutcherson Law steps in on both sides of cases to represent both plaintiffs and defendants. If you have questions about a potential domain name dispute, or if you need representation after someone has made a claim against your domain, we can help. Contact Hutcherson Law to share the details of your case with our domain dispute legal team. We’ll give you the legal guidance you need to reclaim your trademark and protect your reputation from unnecessary damage.
If you have questions about a potential domain name dispute, or if you need representation after someone has made a claim against your domain, we want to talk to you.
Contact our office to share the details of your case with our domain dispute legal team. We’ll give you the legal guidance you need to reclaim your trademark and protect your reputation from unnecessary damage.