In our previous posts, we outlined how to develop a plan to protect your brand in advance of the introduction of new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs). We suggested that organizations take advantage of the trademark clearinghouse, and create a plan – with a budget – for defending the most important brands within their portfolio. In this post, we will discuss three tools your organization should consider in its brand protection plan.
One tool that can help your organization protect its brands is a suite of brand protection solutions and response services that will monitor for and address the different ways cyber criminals may abuse your brand online. Automated tools can keep track of the many possible threat vectors to your brand, freeing up internal resources.
A second tool is the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS), which is a Rights Protection Mechanism (RPM). The URS is meant to be fairly quick and inexpensive, compared to other RPM’s. Complainants have to show clear and convincing evidence of a bad faith registration.
For example, the first URS complaint was won by Facebook, over the domain facebok.pw. In that case Facebook demonstrated that the registrant was a serial cyber squatter. The decision states, in pertinent part: “[…] either altered letters in, or added new letters to, well-known trademarks. Such behavior supports a conclusion of Respondent’s bad faith registration and use. Furthermore, the Complainant submits that the Respondent is using the Domain: A specified location where a set of activity or knowledge exists. For instance, an Internet domain is synonymous with a website address or URL where information can be made available. LookingGlass Cyber (n) - A fancy name for a URL or website. Name in order to attract for commercial gain Internet users to its parking website by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship or affiliation of the website. The Examiner finds such behavior to further evidence Respondent’s bad faith registration and use.”
One thing to note about the URS is that if you win your complaint, the squatted domain name will display a notice that the website has been suspended, along with a link to the ICANN website.
A third tool to consider including in your brand protection plan is domain name blocking. It is being offered by some registries, such as Donuts, which has a Domain Protected Marks List (DMPL) service that allows trademark owners to have their Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)-validated marks blocked from registration at the second level in all Donuts’ new gTLDs. Blocking may be a very useful tool in your plan because it takes advantage of your TMCH registrations and adds more protection with minimal cost.
Using the brand protection tools discussed above can help mitigate the risk of your brand losing traffic due to being associated with an untrustworthy domain name or unwittingly exposing your customers to malware and fraud. Cyveillance brand protection and response solutions, the URS, and domain name blocking are a few tools that can save your organization the time of manually checking for brand abuse online, quickly address cybersquatting, and help prevent cybersquatting when the new gTLDs launch.