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A domain name is a unique string of characters or numbers that typically is used to designate and permit access to an Internet website. The widespread use of domain names in recent years has been accompanied by a phenomenon known as “cybersquatting,” which involves the registration as domain names of well-known trademarks by non-trademark holders who then try to sell the names back to the trademark owners. Since domain name registrars do not check to see whether a domain name request is related to existing trademarks, it has been simple and inexpensive for any person to register as domain names the marks of established companies. This prevents use of the domain name by the mark owners, who not infrequently have been willing to pay “ransom” in order to get “their names” back. In order to combat such bad-faith registration or use of domain names, Congress has enacted the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) as a supplement to the federal trademark statute. To succeed on a claim for cyberpiracy under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, an infringer must show that he or she has registered, with a bad faith intent to profit, a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a mark that is distinctive or famous at the time of defendant’s registration of the domain name.


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