Written by Zak Muscovitch

The most common misunderstanding that I see on a regular basis in terms of people using the term, “cybersquatting”, is that people do not realize that this word has a very specific meaning.

Many people thing that ‘anyone who has registered a domain name that corresponds to that person’s business name’ is a “cybersquatter”. But that is wrong. Cybersquatting is a special term that has a very specific meaning; Cybersquatting only occurs when someone has registered a domain name because they knew of your well known business name or trademark, and speciefically registered the domain name to prevent you from registering it, extort you, or otherwise interfere with your business.

Accordingly, if the domain name was registered BEFORE you adopted your trademark or before you acquired common law rights in your business name through extensive advertising, etc., then it is simply impossible that this is a cybersquat, as it would have been impossible for the domain name registrant to have specifically targeted your business name or trademark, since it didn’t even exist then.

When it is not cybersquatting, it is usually a case of you wanting the domain name but having no legal right to it. Then, your best course of action is to buy the domain name, or choose another one altogether.