Cybersquatting on Trial
In 1999, the early years of the internet when the .com boom was still in full swing, Jason Kneen registered WorkBetter.com. Obviously recognizing the value of his domain, Kneen continued to renew ownership. Now, 16 years later, the New York Company Office Space Solutions Inc. has filed a cybersquatting lawsuit against Kneen. Office Space Solutions filed an intent-to-use TM application for the Work Better wordmark with the USPTO and began using the name in February 2015. Cybersquatting laws are meant to protect businesses from people who register domain names after the business has started using them. However, in this case, a business comes along 16 years after the domain was registered and now decides they want it. Instead of offering to just pay Kneen for the domain, Office Space Solutions is trying to sue him for it. They claim that because he renewed the domain name after they had begun using Work Better for their business, he acted in bad faith, and is therefore cybersquatting on a domain that rightfully belongs to them.
It’s pretty obvious that Office Space Solutions will lose this case, but it does make for a very interesting conversation. Here at JustTheWord, we register brandable domain names that we think could be useful for a future business and we never register domain names with the intent to sell them to a specific business who is already using that wordmark for commerce, because that’s cybersquatting. Our advice to Office Space Solutions? Buy the domain. It’s worth the money. The lawsuit? Not worth the money.