About the author

Vivek Jayaram is the founder of Jayaram Law, a firm advising groundbreaking artists, Web3 entrepreneurs, financial tech and new media executives, and the companies they run.

Ever wonder why so many Web2 company names are vowel-less derivatives of dictionary words? Consider: Flickr, Tumblr, or even Twitter (originally named Twttr).

In some cases, the tweak is easier to trademark. But in others, startups are stymied by the decades-long practice of cybersquatting, in which speculators register domain names containing simple words or famous trademarks (i.e. tiktokcharts.com, secure-wellsfargo.org, paypal.net) with dreams of cashing in by selling the domain to the actual trademark holder (TikTok, Wells Fargo, and PayPal).

After rampant cybersquatting caused headaches for some of the world’s largest brands, lawmakers enacted two pieces of legislation in 1999 designed to curb the practice: the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) in the United States, and ICANN’s Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP). ACPA aimed to prevent cybersquatters from registering Internet domain names containing trademarks for the purpose of selling those domain names back to the trademark owners, while the UDRP provided trademark holders with the right to enjoin or obtain a transfer of a domain name that uses its trademark or could cause confusion around it.

In Web3, the cybersquatting game remains the same, but it’s happening on ENS instead of DNS.

Like the conventional Domain Name Service (DNS), which links seemingly arbitrary numerical server…

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