Legal Dictionary

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Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting (cyber squatting) is the same as cyberpiracy, which is registering and holding a desirable Internet domain name for the purpose of selling it to someone else. Cybersquatting also includes the registering, trafficking, or using a domain name that is similar or identical to another's trademark, with a bad faith intention of profiting by obtaining payment for release of the domain name to the trademark owner. In 1999, the U.S. Congress passed the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) (15 U.S.C. § 1125(d)) to address cybersquatting.

The ACPA allows individuals and entities to sue any party that registers, trafficks in, or uses a domain name confusingly similar to, or dilutive of, their trademark or personal name. For example, if Frank Smith registered www.arnoldschwarzenegger.com, Arnold Schwarzenegger could bring an action against him in federal court and have the domain name released to him. A victim of cybersquatting can also pursue an administrative proceeding under Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN's) Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), which is cheaper and faster than bringing an ACPA action.