The greatest problem with doing business on the internet is the fact that term intellectual property, for some inexplicable reason, still seems quite vague in the eyes of the law. Still, website content like images, text or videos are not the only thing that is prone to theft. Stealing one’s domain name is as bad as stealing the name of the company. However, what do you do when you are unjustly accused of stealing someone else’s domain name without doing so. This is so called reverse hijacking and it can happen to everyone.
What is Reverse Domain Name Hijacking?
In order to explain over the term reverse domain name hijacking, we must first go over the notion of cybersquatting. Cybersquatting means that someone else is using your domain name or a domain name extremely similar to yours, without ever asking for your permission. In these situations, you can try to set things right by filing a lawsuit. However, in some rare cases, even this can be turned against you. Culprits of this ordeal may sometimes sue you first and claim that you are cybersquatting and not them. This is what is commonly referred to as reverse domain name hijacking.
Why Does This Happen?
First of all, it is more than obvious that this was not supposed to happen. It is simply an exploitation of the flux in the system, which was primarily conceived to protect one’s trademark rights. Unfortunately, like so many times in the past, this usually turns into the classical example of cyberbullying. Bigger companies may try to push out the little guy out of their legitimate domain name, simply because they can withstand a long and arduous law suit. This usually ends with a settlement, but this again usually ends less than satisfactory for a weaker side. Luckily, you are not completely powerless when it comes to this.
Solving Problem on Your Own
Even though a law suit might be the right course of action to take, sometimes you simply won’t have enough money, time or will to see this through. This is why you might want to try and solve this problem on your own. The easiest way to prevent others from ever being in a position to raise these accusations against you is to use highly customized extensions, like the one that .me domain and some other custom TLDs have. On the other hand, larger companies often have fear of their name getting connected to cyberbullying, which might influence them into agreeing to some sort of compromise.
If all else fails, you can always turn to Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and state your claims. In most cases, they will take your complaint into consideration and fully examine how valid your complaint is. There are various factors they use if there has been a trademark infringement in question, but they look into some other things, as well. For example, apart from just examining how similar the other domain is to the source one, they also inquire into motivation behind making it so similar. However, things like good or bad faith are abstract at best, so this method often turns out to be less than satisfactory.
Unfortunately, there is nothing that can guarantee you will come out on top, even if you are 100 percent in the right. Even after doing everything right, you might still be forced to either relinquish your domain name or pay “the ransom” for it. We can only hope things will improve in the nearest future, but until then, we need to deal with this on our own. While creating your domain name, be unique, be specific and finally, hope for the best.