Domainer vs. Cybersquatter: How to Distinguish

Registering a domain name is a vital move if you want to establish your brand and products online. But when you discover that someone registered your trademark without your consent you start to become annoyed. You start thinking of remedies in order to obtain the domain name.

Because of the complications of obtaining a domain name from a domainer, cybersquatter or trademark infringer I shall discuss with you the measures, which you can take in order to give you idea as to the steps you can take.

Before proceeding to the details of obtaining your domain name, I shall initially discuss the terms used in this field of information technology law.

What is a domainer?

A domainer is a person who registers a domain name with the intent of monetizing such domain either through parking, affiliate advertising, building mini sites or for flipping. Domainers usually own a large portfolio of domains with high traffic or visitors.

What is the difference between a domainer and a cybersquatter?

A domainer differs from a cybersquatter or a trademark infringer because the latter registers a domain in bad faith and infringes a trademark. For example, in a recent case decided June 2009, the website was declared as confusingly similar to and and so the domain was ordered by the court as belonging to Yahoo! and not to the registrant. In this case, the registrant of is considered as a cybersquatter.

What are the ways in order to recover a domain name from a cybersquatter?

There are a number of options which includes some business strategies and legal measures in order for you to obtain ownership of a domain, these are:

1.     Wait for the domain to expire. This option is recommended for those who are willing to wait for the expiration period. But this option is quite dangerous because during the exact moment of the expiration of the domain someone could register or dropcatch the domain ahead of you. There are a number of paid services, which specialize in doing this so there is a big chance that you may not be able to dropcatch this domain and you will start to wait again for its expiration.

2.     Buy the domain. Offer the seller your price or if there is a listed price for the domain, pay for it. Be careful however of paying because you might not be able to get possession of the domain after buying it from the seller. I would recommend that you avail of an escrow service in order to be secure in buying the domain.

3.     File a case with the UDRP. The current Domain Name Dispute Resolution policy (“UDRP”) is a relatively quick measure in order to obtain and infringing domain when compared to the regular court process. This procedure is a mandatory measure for all disputes of domain names ending in .com, .net. .org and .tv. If you file a complaint, your case will be assigned to an arbitration panel, which will determine or decide on the ownership of the domain. The ruling is either for the registrant to surrender the domain name or to retain ownership.

Author: Atty. James Biron
Atty. James S. Biron is a corporate lawyer specializing in foreign investments, trade, mergers and acquisitions, planning and financing of projects and capital raising. Clients served include real estate, construction, energy, information technology, agriculture, education, medical and casino gaming companies.

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