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Continental Airlines Wins Domain Name Dispute

Published August 24, 2010

In a decision handed down by the US National Arbitration Forum, Continental Airlines has been awarded control of the domain name

Continental Airlines claimed the misspelled domain name was confusingly similar to its trademark and the domain name was registered and being used in bad faith. The domain name resolved to a parked web site that contained links Continental Airlines' competitors.

The National Arbitration Forum panel responsible for making the decision found the registrant was receiving click-through fees from the links displayed on the web site, which it said demonstrated the registrant's bad faith registration. The panel also noted that the registrant had several adverse decisions against it in previous UDRP proceedings, which established a pattern of cybersquatting.

Having established all the elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concluded Continental Airlines complaint was valid and ordered that the domain name be transferred to the company.

Misspelled domain names containing referencing well known brands are often registered by persons hoping to make money through pay per click ads or by redirecting to competing brands. The action is called "typosquatting"; also sometimes referred to URL hijacking. In the United States, the 1999 Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act contains a clause to combat typosquatting under certain circumstances.

However, the typosquatting trend has become so prevalent, many companies register domain names that cover various common misspellings of their service and trademarks as a proactive measure in order to try and avoid having to engage in time consuming  and costly legal action against typosquatters.

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