Updated: May 6
Cyber Squatting is the unethical and unlawful practice of buying a domain name with the intent of profiting from someone else’s trademark.
Here’s an example: Let’s say an ecommerce store sells hunting gear, the business is called Longhorn Clothing Company and they have a federal trademark. Business is growing and they are looking to expand. They currently own the web address www.longhornclothing.com but they’ve caught wind that people are starting to search for “Longhorn Apparel” so they want to purchase the domain www.longhornapparel.com.
When trying to buy the name, the Longhorn owners notice someone already owns the site.
Now, what happened was, a cyber squatter noticed the growth of Longhorn Clothing Company and had the foresight that customers were eventually going to incorrectly search for Longhorn “Apparel” rather than Longhorn Clothing. They purchased the address for a nominal fee in the hopes of reselling it to Longhorn Clothing for a small fortune.
The owner of Longhorn Clothing has a couple options: pay what the cyber squatter is asking, or to file a claim against the Cyber Squatter under the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
If you have a federal trademark and are the victim of a cyber squatter, you do have rights.
Hope this helps