Facebook is taking aim at four Chinese companies over their use of multiple websites designed to mimic Facebook's holdings.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States Federal Court, alleges that four companies and three individuals are behind a cybersquatting scam that's meant to fool consumers. Cybersquatting is the practice of scooping up an unregistered website domain name that's similar to someone or something else famous and using it to capitalize off that person or entity's reputation.
In the case at hand, the Chinese companies bought domain names like "facebook88.net," "myfacebsook.cc" and "infacebook.cc." They then promoted the sites using Facebook's logo and branding. These companies have also participated in similar acts that targeted companies like Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Amazon.
Facebook has asked the court to strip the companies of any profits they made from the sale of the sites -- and fine them $100,000 for every act of trademark infringement.
Cases like this naturally grab the attention of business owners because they involve industry giants, but cybersquatting can be a real problem for almost anyone these days. So many entrepreneurs make their living partly or wholly online that a cybersquatter could do real damage to a person's reputation in almost no time at all. Consider what might happen, for example, if an Instagram influencer had to contend with a cybersquatter who wanted to operate a similar site under their name -- posing as the influencer either for fun or profit.
If you've been the victim of a cybersquatter, there are laws in place that can help you put a stop to someone's bad faith actions. You may even be able to force them to relinquish the site under certain circumstances.
Since each situation is highly unique, talk to an attorney who is well-versed in internet law about your situation and learn more about your possible options.