Chilling Effects
Home Weather Reports Report Receiving a Cease and Desist Notice Search the Database Topics
Topic HomeFAQsMonitoring the legal climate for Internet activity
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
 Chilling Effects Clearinghouse > ACPA > Home Printer-friendly version
 Quick Search:
 Site Guide

Clearinghouse Topics:

.  Copyright and DMCA
.  Fan Fiction
.  John Doe Anonymity
.  Linking
.  Patent
.  Protest, Parody and Criticism
.  Trade Secret
.  Trademark

Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Topic maintained by Berkman Center for Internet & Society



What is the ACPA?

The Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) is a US federal law enacted in 1999 to protect the owners of trademarks from abuse by domain name cybersquatters. ACPA is codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d). The legal remedies available against those who violate the act appear at 15 U.S.C. § 1117. A trademark owner can request a cancellation or transfer of the domain name as well as money to cover damages caused by the domain holder.

In particular, ACPA outlaws the practice of registering one or more domain names that resemble distinctive trademarks with the intent to extract a handsome price from the trademark owner.

Somewhat more broadly, the Act is meant to reduce consumers' confusion about the source and sponsorship of Internet web pages. Its goal is to provide customers with a measure of reliability, so they know that when they visit, they will be able to find actual Reebok products, not something entirely different. It also aims to protect trademark owners from the loss of customer goodwill that could be caused by others' use of their trademarks to market shoddy or disreputable goods or services.

Before a trademark owner can take a domain name under the ACPA, the law requires the tradmark owner to prove the name is being used in commerce in bad faith. If you are using a domain name for legitimate, non-commercial purposes, that may be a defense.

Jared Kramer
Harvard Law School '04

For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions about ACPA.

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse -
disclaimer / privacy / about us & contacts