CAN YOU MAKE SOMEONE GIVE UP A DOMAIN NAME THAT’S INACTIVE OR THAT INCORPORATES YOUR COMPANY NAME?

Not often. It may not seem fair, but the registrant of a domain name can keep it until hell freezes over—or they forget to renew their registration by the expiration date—unless you can prove three things:

• the domain name is the same or confusingly similar to a  service mark or trademark you have rights to

• the registrant has neither a legitimate interest nor a right to the  domain name

• the registrant has registered the name and is using it “in bad faith”

What’s evidence of bad faith?

Basically, if the registrant is using the domain name primarily to do one of the following:

• profit from your mark (i.e., cybersquatting)

• stop you from “reflecting” your mark “in a corresponding domain name”

• attract business away from you because of the likelihood of confusion with your mark

• disrupt a competitor’s business

If you think your situation meets these criteria, you can take it up with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), through a process known as the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP).

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