Cybersquatting and How to Avoid It

Defending what is yours from those who want to take it away is never an easy task. This is many times more difficult when dealing with intellectual property and unfortunately, just everything online is intellectual property. Just imagine how hard it is to create a brand. All the hard work, marketing campaigns and business promotion just so all of your work can be used by someone else. Because of this, it would be safe to say that the notion of cybersquatting is a plague of the internet.

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More harm done

Not only, does someone else use your name and squat your hard work, but they can potentially also damage your business. Seeing as they need your name to succeed means that they don’t have the resources or knowledge to create the brand on their own. This usually (not always), results in them providing service which is quite inferior to yours, and all this bad reputation goes to your brand. Furthermore, someone can use your name to post inappropriate content online and in this way tarnish your brand name. The bigger you are, the bigger the mark your business is for any potential abuses. Because of this, you need to be prepared for the worse, as well as do your homework on the efficient ways of protecting your brand from this kind of threat.

Taking legal action

It is probably always for the best to try and fight injustice with a legal action. This however is not as easy as it sounds. First of all, it needs to be established if what you are dealing with is in fact trademark infringement or cybersquatting. While trademark infringement is no big deal, cybersquatting is a serious violation against your intellectual property and as such needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. This is why, in 1999 congress passed Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (or ACPA). ACPA, is supposed to recognize act of cybersquatting and as such remove a website that represents this violation.

Practical problems

The greatest problem with the ACPA is a fact that in reality, it can be quite inefficient. Even after being recognized as the result of cybersquatting, it sometimes takes even more than a year to take these sites down. By this time, it doesn’t even matters since the conflict is either already resolved or the damage is already done. This is why, it is usually better to resort to Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (often called the UDRP) for aid. By using UDRP, you can take one of these websites down without a lengthy lawsuit. However, this is only one of the ways in which you can protect your brand name online.

Preventing a potential problem

Now, as always, it is better to prevent a problem before it even happens. Even if a problematic content or brand mention remains just one hour online, some damage will be done. This is why, it would be smart to think ahead, and try to foretell any potential problems of this kind in the future. Simply try to figure out some of the most probable abuses of your brand name and already reserve this domain name. For example, you can always buy your domain name variations with .com, .org or even .me domain in order to prevent the potential abuse of your brand before it even occurs.

Where there is a will, there is always a way. When it comes to something that is yours, something that you earned with your own blood, tears and sweat there is no backing down. Once more you will be summoned to defend what is rightfully yours and when that time comes, it is better that you are prepared than not. We hope these few tips and ideas will be of assistance to you in this noble endeavor.

About the author: Marcus is an Australian IT support professional. He’s running his own business, working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. He often writes about technology, business and marketing and is a regular contributor on several sites.

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