The massive data breach at US credit bureau Equifax, Inc. in September resulted in the theft of personal details, including names, birthdates, and social security numbers from more than 140 million people.
After news of the breach broke, Equifax set up an official web site called EquifaxSecurity2017.com for consumers to refer to for information about the hack. It turns out that many similar domain names were registered after the breach, according to Domain Name Wire, including 138 domain names registered by China Capital investment Limited. Many of the domain names included misspellings of "Equifax" and "security." Some of these sites advertised services for identity theft protection services and credit scores.
In response to this blatant cybersquatting, Equifax filed a successful domain dispute under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and all of these domains are now being transferred to the company.
Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond won a restraining order against two cybersquatters who own 66 web addresses that use his name and the name of his carbon-fiber technology business, Grail.
According to the StarTribune, LeMond is suing marketer Frederick H. Stinchfield and his son, Frederick H. Stinchfield III, for $6.6. million. Among the websites operated by the Stinchfields are lemondgrail.com, grailcarbon.us.websites, and lemond industries.com (which features LeMond’s image, his name, and some “derogatory information”). The lawsuit notes that the Stinchfields own other domain names that are “associated” with public figures, like singer/songwriter Rihanna and former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner.
A huge television audience is about to become more aware of the issue of cybersquatting.
Just before Sunday’s kickoff of Super Bowl LI, television viewers will be treated to a cybersquatting-themed commercial starring actor John Malkovich discovering that the domain bearing his name is owned by another John Malkovich, who happens to be a fisherman promoting the “ULTIMATE Fishing Site!!”
In the commercial, Malkovich asks: “How is it that JohnMalkovich.com is taken?” and is told by an assistant that someone else has “snatched it.” Surprised that this could happen, he says, “But I’m him” and then references the fact that there’s even “a film about me being me.” (Cue ‘Being John Malkovich’ fans.)
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reports that cybersquatting claims grew by almost 5% last year. Trademark owners filed 2,754 cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) during 2015 — an increase of 4.6% over 2014.
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