FAQs

Generic Terms Are Not – and Can Never Be – Trademarks. ... Since everyone deserves the right to accurately identify the type of goods or services it sells, to allow a single company to claim trademark rights to a generic term would impoverish the language and unfairly hamper competition. (link)

The Importance of Website URL’s These days, if your business doesn’t have a website, you just can’t compete. But, there is a lot more to it than just creating a website and hoping people will start visiting and spending money. You actually have to market your website and do whatever it takes to get it noticed. One of the most important things that you need to do is create effective marketing URL’s.

You may be wondering why website URL’s are so important. Well, the URL is your domain name, and it is one of the most important aspects of any website. Without a URL, there would be no traffic going to your website whatsoever. A URL may seem like a simple thing, but it is something that no website can do without. It is the one thing that will direct traffic to your site. If you don’t create the perfect domain name, it could mean the end for your website.

Vanity URL, aka custom short URL, aka branded link, makes for better branding and build trust with your audience. They also make social media, marketing emails and offline marketing materials better for users, because they are visually pleasing, easy to remember and people know a brand wouldn’t associate its name with spam or phishing sites. If you’re using vanity URLs for your emails, your messages are less likely to end up in the spam folder of inboxes. While on your social media, they encourage click-throughs.

Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting is a broad term for several cyber offenses regarding domain names. It refers to using, selling, or registering a trademarked domain name in bad faith. Essentially, cybersquatters ignore a company's trademark to make a profit. Since most domains sell to the first person trying to register the name, it is relatively cheap and easy for a cybersquatter to register a domain before a legitimate company has the chance to do so.

There are two significant problems with cybersquatters that companies face. First, cybersquatters try to force the company to repurchase its name. For example, let's imagine that a cybersquatter registered the domain notarealcompanie.com before the business notarealcompanie. The business then tries to register their domain and finds that it is unavailable. They reach out to the cybersquatter to try to take their name back, but the cybersquatter responds by charging the business an inflated rate for their name

However, there is also a possibility that the cybersquatter is not just attempting to make a profit, but is also using the trademarked name to defame the trademark holder. Defamation is the other major problem businesses face with cybersquatters. Many times, cybersquatters, either in a type of cyber blackmail or through ill will, use the trademarked domain name to tarnish a business's online reputation. Let's go back to the previous example to see how this works. Suppose that notarealcompanie tried to register their trademarked domain and found that it was already registered. However, when they looked up the website, the cybersquatter set up the site to imitate the business. On top of this imitation, the cybersquatter then either listed fake products to steal money or credit card information, posted false information, or displayed explicitly derogatory information about the business. To protect their name, notarealcompanie feels that their only option to save their reputation is to accept any price that the cybersquatter requests.

Types of Cybersquatting

There are three main ways that cybersquatters try to prey upon your business. They are cybersquatting, typosquatting, and Gripe sites.

  • Cybersquatting This is the most basic style of cybersquatting. In this type of cybersquatting, cybersquatters look to profit from businesses that haven't yet purchased a domain. They operate on the hope that when a company goes to register their domain, they will be forced to buy the domain from them.

  • Typosquatting Typosquatters prey on the fact that every internet user makes a typo from time to time. So, typosquatters purchase domains with typos in them that are similar to a business name (i.e., facedook instead of facebook) and establish what are called phishing sites. A phishing site works through the hope that an unwitting internet user will stumble onto their fraudulent website, which usually looks almost identical to the original website. This user will then proceed as usual. However, as in the example with facebook, these phishing websites steal the user's information and use it against them and the business.

  • Gripe sites This type of cybersquatting is the trickiest to handle as these sites often exist not for profit but critique. Gripe sites, also sometimes referred to as "name jacking," usually exist to critique and/or mock politicians, celebrities, or corporations. In most cases, the trademark holder loses because the Gripe site does not fit the definition of using the trademark in ill will with the intent to profit.