Domain squatting Business illegal?


I was thinking about this, is domain squatting illegal ?

I've initially thought that it was illegal, and there are people quoting various laws and stuff that says it's illegal, but after looking at these links Domain / Trademark, Selling a high quality domain name, and Flippa, suddenly.. it is legit business?

Does anyone have any insight into this issue ?

I want to know what things a business doing domain squatting will have to look out for.

To be clear, I'm not going into this business. I would just like to know more and learn abit of everything.

Selling Business Domain Internet

asked Sep 16 '11 at 20:39
317 points

4 Answers


In short: it may or may not be legally actionable in the ordinary civil courts, depending on the legal country and the various circumstances surrounding your registrations; your susceptibility to such actions depends on the jurisdiction rules in effect, and the enforcement options against you (as well as the substantive rules in place).

Similar considerations apply to criminal prosecution.

The real issue is that domain registrations may be removed from domain squatters through the ICANN dispute resolution process (and various national registrars' schemes). In general, these are directly targeted at domain squatters and other types of behaviour considered abusive.

Broadly speaking, speculative domain buying that doesn't target someone's specific good will may be fine; attempts to muscle in on someone's good will or to shake them down are likely to be vulnerable to having the domain name taken away.

answered Oct 17 '11 at 22:59
526 points


Type-squatting, domain-squatting, ah there are so many ways people try to get traffic or something that someone else will want to buy later on.

I don't think there is anything wrong with buying a domain name in hopes that it will have value. However, personally, I also think you must do something with it within a reasonable amount of time.

Personal feelings aside, if you get into this business, watch out for companies with lots of lawyers coming after you for your domain name. I remember which was a complaint site against Apple but Apple sued (and won) claiming it used the trademark name and thus should be given to Apple. There is another case about etoys and etoy. The later one to establish itself sued to get the earlier one's domain because it used their name. I'm not sure how that one worked out in the end.

The thing you must remember is that you must have the finances to defend yourself, or else you'll lose your domain and end up with nothing but a big legal bill.

answered Sep 16 '11 at 23:13
1,194 points
  • weird `` is running fine. – Pacerier 12 years ago
  • Clearly Zuck is not the zealot that Jobs is, but that's not really news. – John 12 years ago
  • did Apple actually win or did it simply force the domain owner to fold because of legal costs? – Henry The Hengineer 12 years ago
  • I *thought* the judge ruled in favor of Apple but it was too long ago for my memory. – John 12 years ago


Building a successful business is always easier if you have a vision about the purpose. You need to identify a problem and solve it. You need to make the life of your customers easier, not harder.

By buying domains to sell them for high prices there will be no added value in your service, and most probably people will end up either suing you for using their brand name, or finding an alternative domain name for their new brand.

I think there are millions of other business ideas that generate more income, don't involve legal risks, and contribute more to a better future.

answered Sep 17 '11 at 12:55
Mihaly Borbely
715 points
  • Obviously I'm not going into this business. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be knowing what things these businesses are doing right? – Pacerier 12 years ago
  • @Pacerier, you're right, you should know. – John 12 years ago


You first have to answer yourself what do you mean by "domain squatting".

If it is "domain squatting" or just "domain buying" depends of the domain name and a lot of other factors, concerning different trademarking laws and domain usage.
If it is similar to other domain and used in a way to mislead visitors (trademarked words) it can be illegal.
Before buying any domain name check for trademarks.

If you really want to understand all the implications with domain names the best place is to read posts on some of the well known places for domainers: dnforum, namepros

answered Sep 16 '11 at 22:46
2,288 points

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