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Internet Litigation: Domain Name Infringement

NJ Domain Name Dispute Attorneys

NJ Domain Name Dispute AttorneysOur New Jersey law firm represents businesses and individuals in disputes involving website domain name infringement and trademark infringement.  Because of the Internet’s increasing popularity, companies have realized that owning a domain name that is the same as their company name or the name of one of their products can be an extremely valuable part of establishing a strong and successful Internet presence.

However, sometimes businesses and people may seek to exploit a competitor by registering a domain name that is strikingly similar to the competitor or designed to hijack web traffic and sales from a competitor.

All domain name registrars must follow the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (often referred to as the “UDRP“). Under the policy, most types of trademark-based domain-name disputes must be resolved by agreement, court action, or arbitration before a registrar will cancel, suspend, or transfer a domain name. Disputes alleged to arise from abusive registrations of domain names (for example, cybersquatting) may be addressed by expedited administrative proceedings that the holder of trademark rights initiates by filing a complaint with an approved dispute-resolution service provider.

To invoke the UDRP, a trademark owner should either (a) file a complaint in a court of proper jurisdiction against the domain-name holder (or where appropriate an in-rem action concerning the domain name) or (b) in cases of abusive registration submit a complaint to an approved dispute-resolution service provider.  Companies that do bring a court action must present legal arguments on why a domain name registered to someone else should be cancelled or transferred to an organization who wasn’t fast enough to register the name first.

Federal Anticybersquatting Law

In 1999, Congress passed the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1525,  which made it easier for individuals and companies to take over domain names that are confusingly similar to their names or valid trademarks. To do so, however, they must establish that the domain name holder acted in bad faith.  The law was designed to thwart “cybersquatters” who register Internet domain names containing trademarks with no intention of creating a legitimate web site, but instead plan to sell the domain name to the trademark owner or a third party. Under the ACPA, a trademark owner may bring a cause of action against a domain name registrant who (1) has a bad faith intent to profit from the mark and (2) registers, traffics in, or uses a domain name that is (a) identical or confusingly similar to a distinctive mark, or  (b) identical or confusingly similar to or dilutive of a famous mark.

Need assistance with a domain name dispute that you believe is harming your business?   Contact our NJ law firm today, and one of our lawyers will respond to your inquiry within 24-48 hours. If your matter is urgent, please contact us at (201) 498-0400.

Serving Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey including Bergen CountyEssex CountyHudson CountyMercer CountyMiddlesex CountyMorris CountyPassaic CountySomerset CountyUnion County, and elsewhere in the Garden State.

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