How cybersquatting hurts domain investors

This case illustrates why panelists question domain investors’ explanations for registering domain names.

The initialism UDRP for "uniform domain name dispute resolution policy" in black and blue on a black and blue background

There’s a difference between domain investors and cybersquatters. Unfortunately, the former are often grouped in with the latter and given a bad name.

Consider a recent World Intellectual Property Organization case (pdf) brought by Meta Platforms over domains targeting Facebook and Instagram. The cybersquatter’s arguments might have a negative impact on domain investors.

Meta Platforms filed the complaint against John Corona, Patriots Act LLC, which has previously squatted on Lego domains.

The 27 domains at issue are obvious cases of cybersquatting including facebookmetabitcoin(.)com and fac3book(.)net.

Meta Platforms sent a cease & desist letter to Corona. According to Meta, Corona responded that he’d sell the domains, but they wouldn’t be cheap.

When hit with the UDRP, Corona responded, “[i]f you want to buy them all the domains are Auto calculated with a godaddy price ranging from $1700 to $3000 per domain based on godaddys IP domain name worth algorithm” (sic).

Pretty clear cybersquatting. Unfortunately, Corona tried to justify some of his domains in a way that hurts domain investors in the long run.

According to the decision, he stated that “the disputed domain names incorporating terms such as “bitcoin”, “bank”, and “america” relate to Respondent’s alleged rights in “bitcoin bank America”; and the “website with names ‘fa3ebook’ is literally ‘FA 3 EBOOK…. First airborne 3 ebook is a navy seal halo jump ebook” (sic).

The panelist didn’t buy this. Unfortunately, spurious arguments like these make panelists question all justifications for domain registrations, even when they are legitimate. This hurts domain investors when they are subject to a UDRP filing and have a legitimate reason why they registered the domain. If panelists have been subjected to questionable explanations in the past, their initial response will be to question all explanations.

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