As part of our internet law & e-commerce practice, we provide domain theft recovery services.

Domain theft or domain hijacking, is the practice of changing a domain name’s registration without the permission of domain owner. Our Internet attorneys provide guidance to domain owners on best practices to avoid domain theft and other Internet related crimes.

Domain Theft Methods

Domain thieves can execute domain hijacking in a number of ways. Victims of domain theft assume hijacking is accomplished through nefarious methods, such as viruses, etc.  However, domain hijackers typically acquire personal information about the domain owner to persuade the registrar to transfer the domain to another registrar. Often, an employee is responsible in some manner for the theft. Another method is through Domain registrar employees who accept payment in exchange for fraudulently changing records.

Reasons for Domain Theft and Hijacking

Domain hijackers may hijack domains for a number of reasons, for example:

  • As a means to collect third-party personal information (phishing, keylogging)

  • To generate advertising revenue from parked domains

  • To profit by selling the domain to a third-party or back to the original registrant at an inflated price

There are no specific international or federal laws that explicitly criminalize domain theft. Therefore, recovering hijacked domains can often be difficult and time-consuming. The problem is often exacerbated if the thief transfers the domain to a foreign, out-of-country registrar. In these cases, the original domain owner may not be able to recover the domain at all.

Domain Disputes and Domain Name Litigation

We provide advice precautions to avoid theft of domains. We can also assist in the pursuit of domain retrieval or legal recourse, in the unfortunate event of domain hijacking.

Read more about our litigation services at our intellectual property litigation overview page and our business litigation overview page, including Domain Name Litigation, Online Impersonation and Username Squatting, and Fraud Litigation.

Additional Insights Regarding Domain Name Theft

For more information on domain name theft and stopping domain name hijacking, see our Legal Insights and Industry Solutions pages.