domains Domain Re-Registration Is Subject To ACPA

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Last month, the Fourth Circuit issued a landmark intellectual property ruling in The Prudential Insurance Company of America v. Shenzhen Stone Network Information Ltd., No. 21-1823 (4th Cir. Jan. 24, 2023). The court decided that re-registrations of domain names are subject to the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) and that the time for determining jurisdiction against a domain name is when a cybersquatting claim is filed.

Here is a brief summary of the facts and reasoning behind the ruling and what the ruling means for trademark owners.

Factual background of the case

Frank Zhang, a Chinese citizen, bought the domain name PRU.com in October 2017 on behalf of a Chinese company, Shenzhen Stone Network Information Ltd. (SSN). SSN is a Chinese internet company that distributes foreign exchange (“forex”) financial and economic information to Chinese consumers online. Zhang is SSN’s CEO. Previously, Pru.com was registered to a third-party company based in Texas.

Once Zhang acquired the domain, it was never used to host substantive content. Instead, it displayed a GoDaddy parking page.

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