Intellectual property and ecommerce attorney David Adler discusses the legal definition of cybersquatting, and the legal remedies for search marketers.
Alder explains that cybersquatting can fall into a trademark infringement issue when a competitor purchases a domain that includes the trademark in domain, or even just similar enough to be confusing to the intended audience (whereas people will mistake the domain to be from the trademark owner).
Much cybersquatting revolves around what Adler explains as a “bad faith” intent. Evidence of bad faith includes the following:
1. Registration of the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct;
2. Registration of the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or…
3. Use of a domain name intentionally to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of a web site or location or of a product or service on a web site or location.
Some unscrupulous search spammers have attempted to subvert the search engine’s own guidelines against using competitor trademarks in their search ads copy, by instead including it in the domain, appearing right below.