Ask a Domain Name Attorney: What is the Difference Between Cybersquatting and Typosquatting?17th June, 2021
When you are dealing with a domain name dispute, you are likely dealing with a person or entity who is cybersquatting or typosquatting. These terms are related to one another in that they both concern domain name disputes and potentially unlawful behavior concerning a business’s domain name. However, the terms refer to distinct behaviors, and we want to clarify the differences between cybersquatting and typosquatting. If you have additional questions or concerns, you should reach out to a domain name attorney who can help.
Like the name suggests, cybersquatting involves “squatting” on a domain name that is linked to someone else’s business. Outside the context of the internet, the term “squatting” refers to a person who physically stays inside or on a property in order to take adverse possession of that real property. With cybersquatting, a person or entity buys a domain name in order to profit eventually by selling it back to the business at a higher cost. Sometimes cybersquatting is known as cyber or URL hijacking.
For example, if someone knew about Steve Jobs and Apple computers before the company purchased its domain name (www.apple.com), a cybersquatter might have purchased that domain name with knowledge of Apple computers and the intention of profiting from the domain once Apple became a prominent business.
Learning More About Typosquatting
How is typosquatting different from cybersquatting? Similar to cybersquatting, typosquatting involves a practice of attempting to profit from another business’s name, trademark, or service mark. However, typosquatting is a practice in which a person or entity relies on an existing business and registers similar domain names with the bad faith intention of profiting from a misled consumer. Typosquatting has its name in part because the domain names associated with this practice are often extremely similar to existing domain names, but with a typo (or typographical error). For example, in the Apple computers example above, typosquatting might involve registering the domain names www.Applec.com and www.Apple_.com in order to get Apple customers to the website for purposes of phishing.
Filing a Claim for Your Domain Name Dispute
If you have a domain name dispute as a result of cybersquatting or typosquatting, you could be eligible to file a claim in U.S. federal court under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), or you could be eligible to file a complaint with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). There are benefits and limitations to each approach. Generally speaking, a UDRP complaint for cybersquatting or typosquatting can be handled more quickly at a lower cost than an ACPA complaint. You should talk to a domain name attorney about the option that is best for you based on the particular facts of your case.
Learn More by Talking With a Domain Name Attorney
If you are dealing with cybersquatting or typosquatting, or if you need advice about cybersquatting or typosquatting protection, you should seek advice from a domain name attorney about your particular situation. An experienced cybersquatting attorney can assess your case and can discuss options for a UDRP complaint and UDRP proceedings or other options for resolving your domain name dispute. We can speak with you about filing a complaint. Contact ESQWire to learn more about how our firm can assist you.