The House of Representatives this week gave its stamp of approval to a bill prohibiting
cybersquatting with the intention of profiting off of a domain name.
The legislation targets addresses which imitate a trademark or well-known
business name, and carries a fine of up to $100,000.
The bill also takes aim at sites registered before the law takes effect,
allowing trademark holders to demand the release of the hostage domain name.
The bill was introduced by Jim Rogan (R., Calif.) and Rick Boucher (D.,
Va.), and follows a similar measure passed by the Senate in August. The two bodies must now reconcile the different versions already approved into a final measure that can be sent to President Clinton.
The bill may hit a few bumps on its way towards approval, since the courts
have not always made decisions in favor of the companies in the same way
that the bill proposes to cater to businesses and trademarks, according to
The measure also allows U.S. companies to bring overseas domain holders to
court if the rival has registered the domain in the United States.