Brand Protection on the Internet

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Professor Boyden’s Internet Law class and a legal internship, where many of my responsibilities dealt with online trademark protection of my employer’s brand name, opened my eyes to the complicated nature of brand protection on the internet.

As the internet, and internet crime, develops, trademark owners must confront the abuse of their marks as domain names in two particular ways. First, cybersquatting is registration of a domain name that contains a trademarked term with the intention of selling the domain name to the owner of the trademark at a bloated price. 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d) (2006). Second, typosquatting is the registration of a domain name that includes an intentionally misspelled famous trademark. Typosquatting creates revenue for the squatter by capitalizing on the recognition of the mark through the placement of advertisements on the page, so that a fraction of a cent is generated by each page view from visitors attempting to reach the mark’s owner’s legitimate page. Shields v. Zuccarini, 254 F.3d 476, 483 (3d Cir. 2001).

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