9 March 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Facebook accuses Arizona registrar of cybersquatting

Facebook has once again taken legal action against alleged cybersquatters, in this case a domain name registrar who Facebook says is impersonating its social media, Instagram and WhatsApp services.

The Palo Alto-based company filed a complaint against Namecheap, an Arizona-based domain name registrar at US District Court for the District of Arizona last week.

Whoisguard, a security service operated by Namecheap, was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Facebook has previously been active in cracking down on cybersquatting, which describes the registration of domain names in bad faith with the intention to profit off of another’s brand and is illegal under US law.

Facebook sued OnlineNIC, another domain name registrar, over similar claims last year.

Christen Dubois, the social media company’s director and associate general counsel for IP litigation, confirmed the news in a blog post.

“We regularly scan for domain names and apps that infringe our trademarks to protect people from abuse,” Dubois wrote.

“We found that Namecheap’s proxy service, Whoisguard, registered or used 45 domain names that impersonated Facebook and our services, such as, and,” Dubois added.

According to the social media platform, Facebook sent cease-and-desist notices related to the domains to Whoisguard between October 2018 and February 2020, but the registrar “declined to cooperate”.

“Our goal is to create consequences for those who seek to do harm and we will continue to take legal action to protect people from domain name fraud and abuse,” Dubois said.

The suit resembles another complaint filed by Facebook last October against domain registrar OnlineNIC, which had previously been ordered to pay out $33 million damages to Verizon for cybersquatting.

Facebook had said that OnlineNIC’s history demonstrated a “bad faith intent to profit” off of other brands’ IP.

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