Reverse domain hijacking – RDNH


Reverse domain name hijacking (also known as reverse cybersquatting or commonly abbreviated as ‘RDNH’), occurs where a rightful trademark owner attempts to secure a domain name by making cybersquatting claims against a domain name’s “cybersquatter” owner.[1] This often intimidates domain name owners into transferring ownership of their domain names to trademark owners to avoid legal action, particularly when the domain names belong to smaller organizations or individuals.[2] Reverse domain name hijacking is most commonly enacted by larger corporations and famous individuals, in defense of their rightful trademark or to prevent libel or slander.[3]

Reverse domain name “hijacking” is a legal remedy to counter the practice of domain squatting, wherein individuals hold many registered domain names containing famous third party trademarks with the intent of profiting by selling the domain names back to trademark owners.[4] Trademark owners initially responded by filing cybersquatting lawsuits against registrants to enforce their trademark rights.[5] However, as the number of cybersquatting incidents grew, trademark owners noticed that registrants would often settle their cases rather than litigate.[6]Cybersquatting lawsuits are a defensive strategy to combat cybersquatting, however such lawsuits may also be used as a way of strongarming innocent domain name registrants into giving up domain names that the trademark owner is not, in fact, entitled to.