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The Brave New World of Policing Trademarks

American Bar Association Section of Litigation

January 5, 2009

Authors: Patrick M. Fahey, Susan S. Murphy

It’s a brave new world for trademark owners. By some accounts, “virtually every typographical error and misspelling of a word is monetized by someone, whether a domain name registrar, a domain investor, [or] an ISP. . . .”1 Trademark owners spend millions of dollars in promoting their marks and taking all reasonable steps to protect that investment. On any given day, however, hundreds or even thousands of permutations of those marks are popping up in domain names on the Internet, leading customers to websites populated with links to the legitimate mark holder’s competitors. By the time the mark owner tracks down who has registered those domains—to the extent that information can be determined—the registrations have changed hands.

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