Trademark law, Cybersquatters and Online Registrars

By now, most people are aware of the Anti-Cybersquatting laws, but what about the company that registers a domain name that is confusing or similar to a registered trademark.  It is unclear whether or not, the registrar can be sued under the Anti-Cybersquatting Act or traditional Trademark infringement claims. 

Verizon has sued a company called “On Line Nic” for allegedly registering over 663 domain names in bad faith.  Verizon alleged that these were registered to steer traffic away from its websites.  This case may help clarify the scope of the Anti Cybersquatting Laws and the ability of trademark owners to protect themseleves by suing domain name registrars as well as the domain name owner. 

At this stage, Verizon was able to obtain a default judgment against “On Line Nic”  obtaining $50,000 per domain name for a total judgment award of $33.2 Million.  However, we will see if “On Line Nic” files an appearance and contests the claims or if Verizon is able to collect on the judgment.  In any event, this issue is something that will be litigated and decided in the coming months and years.

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