Should Contributory Cybersquatting be Actionable?

October 11, 2015

Domain name registrars are increasingly targeted by trademark owners for registering and hosting infringing domain names, despite the lack of clear statutory authorization for these claims. Registrars, pressed by reduced profit margins, have begun offering value-added services such as sponsored domain parking and WHOIS-masking. However, such services incentivize and aid domain name purchasers to engage in infringement. Existing scholarship on secondary liability in trademark law and cybersquatting is scarce and outdated. This Article provides a theoretical approach to the question of whether, and when, contributory cybersquatting liability exists. The Article argues that the relevant statute, the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), was enacted against the backdrop of judicial precedent and Congressional intent to enhance trademark enforcement. By drawing upon the substantial case law undergirding traditional contributory trademark infringement, the Article contends that the motivations for including secondary liability apply to ACPA as well.