I discuss here a number of internet-based “dirty tricks” that competitors or others may deploy and which may have serious adverse consequences for you or your business. I also briefly mention the types of remedies which may be available to those victimized in this way.
Confusingly Similar Domain Names
In today’s modern web-based commercial world, it is more important than ever to ensure that potential customers and returning customers are properly connected with your website domain name, and to use domain names that are well-branded and associated with your business.
It is not uncommon for competitors, cyber-squatters, or other persons to obtain control of domain names that are confusingly similar to your trademarks, business names, or your domain name. Then there is a real risk that users seeking your website are instead directed elsewhere by that confusingly similar domain name.
Recovering a Domain Name
In order to recover (transfer to you) a domain name, a complainant must show (1) the complainant owns trademark rights which are confusingly similar to the domain name in dispute; (2) the owner of the disputed domain name registered it in bad faith, and (3) the owner has no legitimate interest in the use of the domain name. A complainant may also be able to succeed in recovering a domain name in the context of a trademark infringement or passing off action.
Injunctions and Anonymous Registrants – in Canada or Not
We can advise and represent you or your business in connection with domain name disputes, whether the registrant of the infringing domain name is located in Canada or not, and even when the registrant’s identity is unknown. Gilbertson Davis LLP can serve your needs with lawyers who have experience in obtaining prompt injunctive relief in respect of domain name disputes where urgent action is required.
Domain Name Dispute Resolution
At Gilbertson Davis LLP, we have successfully represented individuals and businesses recover competing domain names, whether through the Ontario court system or by alternative dispute resolution proceedings such as Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policies of a variety of organizations in Canada and elsewhere that have been provided with authority to resolve domain name disputes, and to transfer Registration of the domain name to the innocent Registrant.
Fake or Counterfeit Websites
For many businesses, a high-traffic website is an invaluable asset. In the modern eCommerce economy, it is the primary way to attract potential customers.
Is Your Business A Victim of Website Copying?
Successful websites also attract competitors who are looking to take advantage of your website’s success. By copying some or all of your website’s content, source code, or trade-marks, or copyrighted content, others hope to make use of the goodwill and search engine optimization that your website has developed. This artificially inflates your competitor’s their online presence at the expense of you or your business.
These actions may also have a long term impact on the performance of your website, as the uniqueness of your website becomes diluted, particularly in search engine results. You or your business may lose traffic since a search engine sees the counterfeit website as a prohibited duplication or mirror of your website.
At Gilbertson Davis LLP, we have successfully represented individuals and businesses to obtain take down of fake websites, sometimes in conjunction with the transfer of the registration of a confusingly similar domain name to the innocent Registrant.
Fake Bad Reviews
Damage to Reputation | Repair of Reputation
Businesses, professionals, authors, public figures and others put immense time and resources into developing a strong and positive reputation, all of which can be put in jeopardy when damaging false statements are published, especially online. Often, the scope and lasting nature of the harm caused by these statements cannot be easily quantified.
Anonymous Authors and Publishers
The identity of individuals who are engaged in fake negative reviews or defamation is not always initially known. Lawsuits for defamation against anonymous persons are often brought in the courts as so-called John Doe and Jane Doe actions. The legal process of the court may lead to the identity of the wrongdoers. Injunctions against unknown wrongdoers to restrain continuing or imminent breaches are also sometimes granted by the courts.
Business Defamation and Reputation Management
It is important to recognize that corporations can be defamed and corporations can defame. When a business’ livelihood often depends on its reputation, there is recourse available for defamatory statements that damage said reputation and cause economic losses as a result.
Under Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act at section 16 it is stated that it is not necessary to allege or prove special damages when the slander affects official, professional, or business reputation. This means that businesses may have a cause of action without having to prove such special damages, as they will be presumed. Gilbertson Davis LLP can advise you as to how this provision may be advantageous to protecting your interests.
Dashboard of Related Webpages
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If you require legal advice regarding these practice areas, please contact Gilbertson Davis LLP for an initial consultation.
You may contact our intake coordinator, to make arrangements for an initial consultation, by telephone 416 979 2020 ext 233, by email on email@example.com or by using the Contact Us Box on this webpage.