The news that cyber criminals will have to pay Facebook nearly $3 million is a major blow for those who continue to think that infringing major brands intellectual property is a sustainable business model. It is becoming more difficult for major brands to fight brand abusers, as rarely the laws that govern the online world are complex, localized and tends to protect the cyber criminal. The award of up to $25,000 per domain was only part of the story, as the U.S. Courts took severe exception to the malicious nature of some of the domain names, and the websites that sat behind them which contained malware.
This was not the first Facebook win in the battle against the typosquatter. Back in July 2011 they were “awarded” around 100 other domain names that had been registered by third parties in an attempt to divert legitimate traffic through mistypes, and thus, potential revenues away from the social media giant.
Whilst many people may think it is big and clever to try and gain “one up” by registering typos of major brand names, this court ruling certainly proves that (cyber) crime certain does not pay.
Any registrations that are seen as a clear attempt to profit from the intellectual property of someone else are illegal, and the courts are coming down hard on perpetrators. However, it is still important to have monitoring tools in place that highlight these issues. Even if it is an annual, good housekeeping practice, all brand owners should take a close look as to what domain names are being registered by third parties, and a sound brand protection strategy to assess what damage this is doing to their critical digital assets.
Stuart Fuller, Director of Communications, NetNames
3 May 2013