I often talk about cybersquatting, but not about typosquatting which is real problematic too. Let me remind you it is exactly : this term refers to a practice of purchasing all the various versions of an existing domain name (adding a letter, hyphen, and inverting characters) to hijack traffic related to that domain. But how to know if someone is does it for real or if it's just an unfortunate coincidence. As you will see in this article, sometimes a tiny detail is enough to create a situation of conflict.
This case concerns two groups of lawyers which went to the court because of their domain names. The first is composed of Stephane Verreau Verge and m. Dufresne who created together in September 2015 the website petites-creances.ca. The second is composed of Francis Alerte and René Georges-Andy, owners of petitescreances.ca (without the hyphen). The similarity between these two domains names and the fact that they propose quite similar services caught the attention of m. Verge.But before to make any conclusion, it reminds to know if we are dealing with a typosquatting situation or a simple coincidence.
The owners of petites-creances.ca, clearly annoyed by this discovery accused Mr. Alerte and his colleague of using their trade name. They defended themselves by explaining that their domain name was onlin before theirs. Indeed, petitescreances.ca was registered since 2007 which confirms that it's anterior to m. Verge and m. Dufresne's domain. Thus, it tends to prove that it can't be linked with typosquatting practise. However, Mr. Verge noted that the domain remained inactive for a while since 2009, before being closed, which can potentially attest that Mr. Alerte and Mr. Georges-Andy did not really have the utility of their domain.
Mr Alerte proposed a friendly agreement which was declined by Mr Verreau and Mr Dufresne who preferred to bring the case to the court. This decision was highly criticized by both accused. However, I am not convinced they will have to transfer their domain petitescreances.ca, since no fraudulent intent has been identified, and their domain created in 2007 is older than the defendants' one. The remainder of this case will be given when the court will deliver its sentence.
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