What if someone sets up a web domain similar to mine?

Photo of Tomas Orsula

Written by Tomas Orsula

Senior Trademark Attorney

If someone sets up a web domain similar to yours, it can lead to confusion among your customers and may even divert traffic away from your website. Here's what you can do to address this situation:

  • Evaluate the case: Assess how closely the infringing domain resembles yours. Consider factors such as the domain name itself, the content on the website and whether the infringement is intentional or unintentional. You might have better chances of fighting back in some countries than others, depending also on where you own a trademark, where the domain is registered and in which countries it runs advertising pointing to it, if any. If you are not sure about your chances, you can consult a lawyer specialising in intellectual property or domain name disputes to understand your options and the best course of action.
  • Contact the domain owner: Attempt to reach out to the owner of the domain in a polite and professional manner. Explain the situation and express your concerns about the potential confusion it may cause among your customers. Request that they either cease using the domain or make it clear that their website is not affiliated with yours.
  • Utilise legal options: If contacting the domain owner directly does not resolve the issue, you may need to consider legal action. Again, consider consulting a lawyer about the next steps.
  • File a domain dispute complaint: Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a domain dispute complaint through organisations such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
  • Monitor and protect your brand: Continuously monitor domain registrations to identify any new registrations that could potentially infringe on your brand. Consider registering variations of your domain name and relevant extensions (e.g., .net, .org) to prevent others from registering similar domains.
  • Seek assistance from hosting providers: If the infringing website is hosted by a third-party hosting provider, you can reach out to them and report the infringement. Many hosting providers have policies in place to address intellectual property violations and may take action to remove the infringing website.
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