Domain names

Boulware & Valoir regularly counsel clients on many different Internet laws and domain name issues, including:

  • Domain-name registration and transactions
  • Domain recovery actions and domain name disputes
  • Unfair competition and false advertising issues
  • Online advertising practices
  • Metatag use
  • Copyright and trademark use
  • ICANN proceedings (including those under the UDRP)

DOMAIN NAMES

A domain name is an Internet address connected to a particular website. Domain names are intended to be easily identifiable, easy to remember, and act as business identifiers for an online business. As a result, many businesses use their trademarks; as their domain name to attract customers to their website. It is important that once a domain name is registered with an accredited registrar, the domain name account must be maintained and the domain name renewed once the time arrives.

DOMAIN NAME RECOVERY

Domain names are intended to be used as business identifiers for an online business. Third parties, however, often try to profit by exploiting the system and registering numerous valuable domain names, only to offer them for sale at higher prices or to use them to attract business to their own sites. This type of practice is known as cybersquatting. Other times, the practice known as typo squatting is employed. In this situation, a third party will register various spellings of a domain name that could be easily confused with the actual mark.

Boulware & Valoir can help you file a complaint under the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDPR) to gain ownership of the cyber squatted domain name. Under UDPR procedures, the trademark owner must file a complaint and prove: (1) that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which it has rights; (2) the current domain name holder has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and (3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. We are experienced in preparing complaints under the UDRP and can assist you with the domain name recovery process.

ANTICYBERSQUATTING CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT

In addition to the UDRP under ICANN, a domain dispute can be resolved by suit in federal court under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act generally prohibits using a domain name containing another’s trademark with intent to profit. Under this Act, anyone who in bad faith uses, sells, or tries to sell a domain name that infringes another’s trademark, may be subject to penalties of up to $100,000 per domain name abuse incident. Other possible avenues of protection could include protection under trademark law or unfair competition laws. Boulware & Valoir attorneys have experience assessing the protection afforded to a trademark owner and can help prevent cybersquatting.

Boulware & Valoir

Intellectual Property Attorneys

Three Riverway
Suite 950
Houston, TX 77056
Phone: 832-369-7852
Fax: 713-650-6458