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What can I do if someone used my company name as a domain name?

Creating a website with a domain name similar to your company’s name is one of the best ways to ensure your customers find your business online. However, upon registering your site, you might find another party already uses your company’s name as a domain name.

Trademark violation

Trademarking your company name generally prevents others from using it and other intellectual properties related to it. However, it does not automatically prevent others from using it or its permutations as a domain name if they already owned the domain before you registered your trademark.

It is also possible that the other party has the same name as your company despite being in a different industry or offering different products. Your lawyer can help determine whether the other party infringes on your trademark and advise about your options.

Cease and desist

Some unscrupulous parties register domain names similar to existing company names in a practice called cybersquatting. They usually do this to confuse a business’s customers, divert internet traffic, sell the domain name for a profit or use it for phishing scams.

Companies sometimes send cease and desist letters against such parties to help protect their trademark. If you are writing such a letter, it is best to do so with your attorney’s help to make it sound more persuasive. Note, however, that this letter is not a court order, so it is more a request than a legally enforceable document.

Court intervention

You may have a solid case if your lawyer confirms trademark infringement and none of your requests stopped the other party. When filing a lawsuit, you usually have to prove that the other party infringes on your trademark by using your company name or registering the domain in bad faith.

Disputes rooted in trademark issues tend to be complex. Your lawyer can help strengthen your case by guiding you in gathering evidence and laying down persuasive arguments. They can also help you navigate the complexities of intellectual property and internet laws and protect your rights and business from underhanded practices.