Defense shields California businesses from cybersquatters

Just when your Los Angeles business takes a step toward profit along comes a cyber-thief to destroy everything you’ve built. Unless a venture is extremely well funded, California startups can collapse under the weight of online theft.

Businesses are not entirely helpless victims of cybersquatting provided they carry Internet insurance or can support a domain name dispute. Regrettably, many of the individuals who launch online attacks have current or former company connections.

Business owners can avoid cybersquatting victimization by exploring the motivations of domain name burglars. Who has the most to gain by stealing a company’s URL? Enemies may be closer than many businesses realize or care to admit.

A fast-moving, professional cyber-thief can make money by swiping a stranger’s domain name. Quick money from any source satisfies the purpose. Insidious perpetrators sometimes lurk close at hand — business partners, disgruntled ex-workers, investors, managers, competitors and full-time or contract employees.

One legal expert admitted one in four of his intellectual property clients filed domain name complaints about company partners or other owners.

A Wall Street Journal article published in 2007 found entrepreneurs-in-waiting and startups were the most vulnerable to cybersquatting. Thieves love victims who lack the money and power to wage war.

The first U.S. cybersquatting conviction was less than two years ago. A New Jersey man was sentenced to five years in prison after trampling the rights of The thief boldly swiped the domain and sold it on eBay for $110,000.

The head of an online religious tourism business is a cybersquatting victim turned domain name protection champion. The CEO of World Religious Travel Association now educates other travel business owners about how to avoid what his company experienced – total bankruptcy after a cybersquatting attack.

Alert businesses are no longer waiting until they have to play offense following a domain name theft. Intellectual property lawyers are a critical part of a company’s cybersquatting defense.

Source:, “Domain Theft Bankrupting Small Businesses” No author given, May. 17, 2013