We represent several social media influencers, including YouTubers, Instagrammers and Snapchatters. Unfortunately, an all too common occurrence for our clients is to find that their desired domain name has been snapped up by a cybersquatter. The good news is that we may be able to help you win back your domain name.
We have had success filing Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) Proceedings, which are essentially a type of arbitration, on behalf of our clients. If a UDRP Proceeding is successful, the domain name at issue will be assigned to you. Here is how a UDRP Proceeding works:
If you are a celebrity, social media influencer or brand-owner, you likely own trademark or service mark rights in your name or brand. If another party is using your name as part of a domain name in bad faith, without having any legitimate interest in the name, a UDRP Proceeding likely would be successful. We can assist in preparing and filing a UDRP complaint, which is the first step to winning back your domain name.
This process was designed so that cybersquatters cannot improperly benefit from your notoriety by diverting web traffic to a website that you do not own. That being said, sometimes a domain owner other than you may have a legitimate right to a domain name. For example, if a CPA in Sheboygan, Wisconsin named John Smith registers the domain name johnsmith.com, the hypothetical YouTuber John Smith likely would not be successful at wresting this domain name away from Mr. Smith, CPA, who also has a legitimate right to use it. However, if johnsmith.com was being run by a shadowy company to sell ads for products and services that appeared to relate to our YouTuber, a UDRP proceeding could be a successful way to win the domain name back from the infringer.
As an initial step to protecting your brand name, it is always advisable to register your trademark or service mark with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Our firm regularly assists clients with applying to register their personal names and brand names with the USPTO and around the world. Obtaining registration will make success in a UDRP proceeding more likely.
Please reach out to us by phone or through the contact link on our website if you would like to protect your name from cybersquatters or other potential infringers, and we will be happy to assist you.
- Michael Salvatore