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Twittersquatting cases arise

Lawsuits are filed against Twitter scams, imposters

Typing too quickly during your Internet search could result in visiting websites that look identical to what you’re looking for, but are actually misleading. It’s called cybersquatting.

Twitter has filed a complaint against twiter.com, which is considered to be a typo-domain name. Twiter.com may have the look and feel of Twitter, but instead of tweeting, it urges visitors to sign up for premium text-messaging services.

Websites such as these can also resemble Facebook, Google and YouTube, and they often offer cash awards or iPads for signing up for quiz services and short surveys.

Twitter has taken action against twiter.com by filing a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) using the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (URDP), an anti-cyber squatting rule created by ICANN, which is cheaper than going to court.

However, Twitter must prove the twiter.com domain name was created in bad faith, which will be hard since twiter.com was registered in 2004, three years after Twitter acquired its trademark in 2007.

UDRP panelists often rule that domain names can’t be registered in bad faith if they were registered before the trademark even existed. But twiter.com reportedly has changed ownership multiple times in the last few years, most recently in April.

WIPO’s standards are that when a domain is transferred to a new registrant, the registration can be treated as new, which may give Twitter a better shot at winning the dispute.

Another case involving cybersquatting and Twitter involves an anonymous Twitter squatter posing behind the insurance company Coventry First.

The anonymous account has tweeted 14 times with tweets such as this: “The faster people die the more coventry first profits! not even cig companies want their customers to die as fast.”

Coventry First has decided not to sue Twitter, and instead has filed a John Doe lawsuit against whoever is controlling the @coventryfirst account, saying those persons are infringing Coventry’s trademark and breaking cybersquatting laws.

The insurer also has filed a subpoena asking Twitter to reveal the user of the fake account.

Twitter’s name squatting policy states that username squatting is prohibited by the site’s rules, and that an account must have updates, a profile image and an intent to mislead for action to be taken against imposters.

Shardae Smith

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