Since the passage of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) in 1999, cybersquatting has been illegal. The Act specifically protects against cybersquatters buying domain names that are either the same as, or very similar to, existing trademarks. Contact a Cybersquatting Lawyer to learn more.
However, cybersquatting can still be a problem.
Let’s say you have a trademarked brand name, and you want to build a website under the banner of that brand. When you search for the domain and another website comes up with a similar or even identical name, it may be wise to harbor a bit of suspicion if that “website” appears to be a mere place holder website (ie, the website contains only of ads with no content of substance, or displays a message of permanent, under construction), or worse if it is outright trying to sell you the domain name!
Conversely, if the website looks like it’s actually functioning with a valid purpose (beyond the use your trademark), it probably wouldn’t trigger cybersquatting complaint, because the owner of the domain isn’t holding it specifically to profit from its use of your name. In the event that this website is legitimately using this website (and not operating it to extort money from your valid trademark rights), you have several options. You can either find a different domain name altogether, or offer to buy the domain name from the owner. However, if the owner offers to sell you the domain name for an unreasonably large amount of money, it may very well be the case that they are cybersquatting.