Meta accuses Freenom of cybersquatting its trademarks on 5,000 domains

Started by Domaining News, Mar 09, 2023, 02:21 AM

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has filed a lawsuit against Freenom, which manages several free-to-register ccTLDs, including .tk.

The lawsuit alleges that Freenom infringes on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp trademarks by using these trademarks for over 5,000 domain names within the TLDs it operates.

Freenom offers domains for free and then monetizes them through parking, residual traffic, or suspension due to abuse. The company has registered many domains previously used for phishing and has been accused of cybersquatting, phishing, and trademark infringement. Meta is pursuing damages of over half a billion dollars.

Freenom operates several TLDs, including .gq, .cf, .ml, and .ga, in addition to .tk, which had almost 25 million registrations at one point. The company has listed some "premiums," but other than that, domains are free. However, Freenom is currently not taking new registrations due to "technical issues."


Facebook has filed a lawsuit against Chinese cybersquatters who are attempting to invalidate the sale of in a Chinese court. Facebook acquired the Instagram service for a billion dollars in 2012 and wants to avoid the capture of the domain by cybersquatters.

The Instagram photo-sharing app was launched in October 2010, hosted on the domain while the domain was owned by a US-based domain investor. In November 2010, it was sold to Zhou Weiming, a Chinese investor who subsequently sold it to the current owner, Zhou Murong.

Facebook intends to have the transaction recognized as valid through the courts, despite the fact that Zhou Murong's relatives have sued her and Instagram, claiming that she did not have sufficient rights to sell the domain.

In addition to this, Facebook has also successfully secured rights to 22 domains through the UDRP procedure related to the Instagram brand with typos in them.

Facebook has also sued OnlineNIC, Namecheap, and Newfold Digital for cybersquatting using Facebook trademarks. OnlineNIC has been sued before by Microsoft, Yahoo, and Verizon and was fined $33 million by Verizon.