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Procuring Digital Evidence for Reverse Domain Hijacking Case with Domain Research & Monitoring Tools

Reverse domain name hijacking is a shady practice that some individuals and organizations carry out. It occurs when a trademark owner makes false claims in an attempt to gain control of a domain that someone else owns. A reverse domain hijacker takes advantage of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) by citing false claims of copyright infringement.

For example, a startup owner can file a UDRP complaint against a website that has been operating for years because it uses a name that is very similar to his. The complainant can claim that the domain is violating his rights to a trademark or a service mark. If successful, he can then lay claim to the disputed website or have it shut down for good.

Even if the so-called trademark owner doesn’t have a case, the thought of undergoing a legal proceeding is often enough to scare legitimate website owners off. Usually, the domain owners simply settle things out of court by transferring site ownership to the complainant.

To illustrate further what domain name hijacking entails, let’s review the case of an overspray removal company that’s wresting control of a competitor’s domain.

The Cybersquatting Complaint

National Overspray Removal, LLC filed a complaint on June 5, 2019, citing that the website nationaloversprayremovalservice.com is infringing its copyright. The said domain is owned by Jeff Suggs, who, like the complainant, operates an overspray removal shop in Texas. The complainant is banking on its 2017 trademark registration citing first use of the domain in June 2010.

Following the filing of a dispute, an arbitration committee sent a copy of the complaint along with a written notice to Suggs. On June 26, Suggs responded, stating that he registered his domain way back in May 2010 before the complainant got it copyrighted.

Upon looking at the disputed domain’s WHOIS records, administrative panelist Steven M. Levy favored Suggs. Levy confirmed that Suggs registered his domain before the trademark’s approval. The committee also declared that the complainant filed the dispute in bad faith. As a result, the committee decided that the complaint was false and cited it as a case of reverse domain hijacking.

Despite the decision, National Overspray Removal, LLC continued to press charges against Suggs. The company hopes it would win in court.

If you were the defendant, would it be possible to obtain evidence to support your case? Let’s find out how Domain Research Suite could help.

Proving One’s Innocence with the Domain Research Suite

Domain Research Suite is a domain research and monitoring platform that offers several tools that can aid in doing in-depth investigations. It lets users perform WHOIS lookups, historical WHOIS searches, domain monitoring, and more.

Any website owner accused of infringing on someone else’s trademark rights can gather evidence to support his case using domain research and monitoring tools.

In a reverse domain hijacking case, for instance, a site owner can perform a historical search on his and the complainant’s domains. With that, he can confirm that his site is older than that of the complainant by looking at their domains’ oldest WHOIS record. That is an excellent way to prove that he didn’t cybersquat on the complainant’s domain.

It’s also possible to monitor complainants’ every move with a registrant monitor. For instance, the mere act of adding the complainant’s name to the list of registrant trackers would allow the user to keep tabs on his domain-related moves. The tool provides daily reports should the complainant register new domains or updates the WHOIS record of the site related to the case.

Finally, to avoid becoming the victim of brand abuse, the site owner can keep track of potential phishers, copycats, and cybersquatters using a brand monitoring tool. Instead of listing down domain owners’ names to monitor, he can generate a list of domains that could potentially harm his own brand’s reputation.

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All website owners can become a reverse domain hijacking victim, but obtaining proof that no wrongdoing has taken place is made possible with the help of domain research and monitoring tools.

By WhoisXML API, A Domain Research, Whois, DNS, and Threat Intelligence API and Data Provider

Whois API, Inc. (WhoisXML API) is a big data and API company that provides domain research & monitoring, Whois, DNS, IP, and threat intelligence API, data and tools to a variety of industries.

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