The Internet has introduced unprecedented convenience to our lives. We can buy groceries, communicate with friends all over the world and book a vacation, all within minutes from a laptop or smartphone. But the Internet, along with social media, has also made intellectual property theft and infringement much easier. Thus, clients must be vigilant in protecting their trademarks and copyrights.
Domain names—the Internet address at which a website can be accessed—present an easy opportunity for infringement. Cybersquatters may register a domain containing a trademark, or similar to a trademark, for the purpose of selling that domain to the trademark owner for a high price. A variety of “top level domains” (i.e., .com, .org, .net) enable cybersquatters to buy domains corresponding to trademarks with the intent of profiting off such infringement. In recent years, the expansion of “generic top level domains” (“gTLDs”)—which range from “.college” and “.dog” to “.porn” and “.sucks”—have opened the door for cybersquatters to seize hundreds of new domains containing trademarks. A list of these new gTLDs, approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), can be found at https://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/delegated-strings.
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