Brand owners responded to our survey, and "77% of respondents are either unsure of whether ICANN is in a position and of the mindset to reduce cybersquatting on its own, or believe that the organization is unable to protect them from infringement"
On March 5, 2008, FairWinds released a paper on the past and present state of cybersquatting and what brand owners can do to address it in the future. FairWinds worked with Bob Shaughnessy, an attorney and partner at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C., to create a reference on enforcement options available to brand owners and provide a recommended course of action. Mr. Shaughnessy's practice focuses on complex civil litigation, and he has represented intellectual property owners in numerous trademark, copyright, and cybersquatting cases. You can reference our Web site to revisit the paper FairWinds released with Mr. Shaughnessy in March.
In addition to providing a holistic view of the issue, an overview of what options exist and what options have yet to be explored, FairWinds provided a survey for the Internet community to share their experiences with cybersquatting. This created an opportunity for dialogue on the real-world impact of cybersquatting on brand owners worldwide.
Respondents were asked to rank, on a scale of 1 to 5, how strongly they disagree or agree, respectively, with a series of statements about the effects of cybersquatting on their brand and their customers.
Of the respondents, 100% agreed with the statement that cybersquatting negatively impacts the online experiences of their customers and partners. 64% of respondents agreed that cybersquatting results in a significant loss of revenue for their company. Furthermore, 89% of respondents would recommend or approve litigation against a cybersquatter in an appropriate case and 67% of respondentswould be willing to consider working with other brand owners to bring joint litigation against a cybersquatter. This promising data shows that brand owners are not only ready to step up and combat cybersquatters when necessary, but that they are willing to work together in new and strategic ways.
As FairWinds points out in its paper, cybersquatting is damaging to the stability of the Internet and harmful to members of the Internet community. It is encouraging that brand owners are beginning to realize the scope of the problem and that they are willing to draw upon the strength of collective experience by banding together to combat a shared problem.
CADNA, a group that FairWinds helped form, welcomes brand owners to join the coalition as a way to progress towards effective online trademark enforcement. Membership in CADNA allows brand owners to share best practices so they are able to make more informed choices and use collective action to deliver a real blow to those that have made a business of brand-infringing domain abuse.
Another notable result of CADNA's survey is that 77% of respondents are either unsure of whether ICANN is in a position and of the mindset to reduce cybersquatting on its own, or believe that the organization is unable to protect them from infringement. Policymakers need to be made aware of this feeling of vulnerability that hangs over brand owners in order to affect the right types of change in legislation. Brand owners should come together to move forward in the fight against cybersquatting. The greater the backing this anti-cybersquatting movement receives, the stronger the message we are able to send. CADNA, for its part, remains devoted to its mission of educating the public and enacting policy change while working with like-minded companies and organizations in order to create a safe and stable Internet.
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