Facebook takes aim at lookalikes

| Mar 6, 2020 | Trademark Law

Would you think that a website called “instagrambusinesshelp.com” was related to Instagram? Would you think that “facebook-login.com” was actually part of Facebook? Would you probably assume that “whatsappdownload.site” was connected to WhatsApp?

A lot of people might, which is why Facebook wants to put a halt to the practice. Trying to track down every one of the individual people or companies that registered those names, however, is a big job. In the meantime, Facebook wants to stop new websites that can be used for “phishing, fraud and scams” from popping up. To that end, it’s sued a domain name register called Namecheap. Namecheap and its proxy service, Whoisguard, are based in Arizona.

According to the lawsuit, Whoisguard has allowed 45 domain names that impersonate Facebook or its apps, including those listed above. Facebook has tried, twice, to get information from Whoisguard about the people or entities that are using the names — but Namecheap doesn’t intend to hand over the information without a court order or a subpoena.

Essentially, Namecheap is telling Facebook that their claim is merely a trademark dispute and the need to take the issue up through other channels. Per Namecheap’s chief executive officer, “When there is no clear evidence of abuse, or when it is purely a trademark claim, Namecheap will direct complainants, such as Facebook, to follow industry-standard protocol.”

Cybersquatting is a serious problem for a lot of companies. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, there were 3,447 disputes over alleged cybersquatting in 2018, which is an increase of 15% over the previous year.

Protecting your trademark and your reputation is a huge part of intellectual property law. If you find that you’re being impersonated by an online-lookalike, take legal action today.