Group wants to model law after Utah legislation.
Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) is pushing to amend the 1999 Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) to include provisions in a 2010 Utah cybersquatting law.
Phil Corwin, counsel for the Internet Commerce Association, notes that CADNA is recruiting a sponsor and no bill has been introduced yet. Thus, it’s impossible to know the exact details of how the group wants to amend the act.
That said, the Utah legislation increases damages for cybersquatters and allows trademark owners to sue “affiliates” that enable cybersquatters to operate. Corwin notes:
So expanding the scope of potential liability beyond domain registrants to their “affiliates” (a term that is not defined in the Utah law) is one significant change. That change could apply to every affiliated entity associated with and controlled by an individual or company holding a domain portfolio.
Another is a significant increase in potential civil money penalties, with the Utah law providing plaintiffs with the option to opt for very stiff statutory damages without any requirement to prove actual damages and economic harm. Further, a presumption that damages are $100,000 per domain where there is any pattern or practice of cybersquatting is very worrisome, as what constitutes a pattern or practice is likewise not defined – it might be as few as two past UDRP losses.
Here’s the first part of the email CADNA sent out:
Subject: Putting a Stop to Domain Cybersquatting
> From: The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse
> Date: Fri, January 20, 2017
> 2017 is the Year to Combat Cybersquatting and Make the Internet Safer for Business and Consumers Cybersquatting is a global problem that businesses and their customers face. It’s been 17 years since the original cybersquatting legislation (ACPA) was passed and since then not updated to reflect the growing problems of malware dissemination, phishing scams, and counterfeit goods sales via trademark-infringing domain names. While a global solution to the problem would be ideal, the U.S. appears to be the most likely place to realize an updated anti-cybersquatting law in the near future. We believe that the 2010 Utah E-Commerce Integrity Act* can serve as a model for federal legislation to protect businesses, their brands, and consumers by making cybersquatting riskier and less lucrative for perpetrators, and the 2016 general elections outcomes for both the U.S. Congress and the White House present a unique and timely opportunity to push through legislation modeled on the Act. The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) is now mobilizing the global business community to promote and pass legislation that will greatly enhance the available protection mechanisms for online trademark protection and limit the appeal of cybersquatting. Already well known on the Hill for our efforts to amend cybersquatting laws, we are well positioned to leverage the transformed political landscape and the post-IANA transition world toward this effort. Now, more than ever, CADNA needs your help to accelerate our activities. We invite you to join other global brands as we undertake this exciting work in 2017. For more information about how you can participate in CADNA’s efforts to secure legislative relief for trademark owners against cybersquatters, please contact us. CADNA is a nonprofit founded in 2007 by a group of trademark owners and is run by FairWinds Partners. CADNA’s goals are to raise awareness among consumers and governments about the dangers and costs associated with domain name cybersquatting, and to bring about changes in law that will reduce the incidences of trademark infringement in the domain name space.
While Internet Commerce Association’s code of conduct prohibits intentional cybersquatting, Corwin writes that “enactment of Federal law based upon the Utah act would provide trademark owners with powerful new tools to bring potentially crushing litigation against domain owners and all their affiliates, and to receive high damages absent any need to prove actual economic harm.”