Disputes over intellectual property ownership are placing fresh challenges before courts every day. Internet laws develop and update slowly compared to the complex legal issues they cover. A lawsuit recently filed by California clothing maker True Religion Apparel will determine the rigidity of cybersquatting laws.
Cybersquatting is the act of registering a domain name with a perceived commercial value, based on another party’s trademark. For example, the domain name coke.com could be bought with the intention of attracting Internet visitors searching for Coca-Cola. The cybersquatter makes a profit by hijacking customers or selling the domain name to the soft drink maker.
In fact, Coca-Cola owns coke.com, which transfers visitors directly to the company’s main website. It’s a common intellectual property defense strategy for businesses to buy trademark-associated domain names, including misspelled ones, to block profiteers.