The lawsuit the article below speaks of was a bold move by Dell, and I think they’re going to try to pass new laws against domain tasting. With GoDaddy on their side, it’ll be interesting to watch. It seems that there are trademark infringement lawsuits which involve cybersquatting and typosquatting filed less frequently; usually the UDRP solves the issue or a C&D letter will do the trick when it comes from someone who you knew not to mess with: a company with a large amount of authority and prestige.
I read somewhere that 15% of all internet traffic is direct-type. I believe that this reason is one of the driving forces behind typosquatting and cybersquatting. We all know how easy it is to to misspell a URL – how many times have you been like “oops! I was trying to go somewhere else”? If you stay on that page and click on ads which display what you wanted, or in Dell’s case competitors products that users were searching for, you just made whoever hosts that page money.
Part of proving trademark infringement or dilution is the loss of profit from the infringer taking your term and using it in commerce. If there’s no profit then you don’t satisfy all the prongs to the infringement/dilution test and then where are you? If these domain name registrars weren’t running AdSense or some other type of pay-advertising programs on the landing or parked pages that were put up, I wonder if Dell would have such a strong case.
I worked with a domain name registrar who had just boatloads of domain names and participated in domain tasting. Part of my job was to broker sales and transfers some of the domain names, and part of it was to convince my client to drop the names that he had registered which contained trademarked terms or typos of trademark terms back into the marketplace. “But! They sent valuable traffic to my site!” he whined to me. After reminding him that we could find a smarter (read: completely legal) way to get more traffic to his site and he could sleep at night, he started listening to my ideas. My overall thought on this issue is that cybersquatting and typsquatting are cheap and dirty tricks to get traffic to your site. If you want to promote a site that means something to you, then you shouldn’t mind investing money in it.
This issue has been gaining momentum, and it’s so interesting to see the “old world” court system get involved in the “New Frontier”.