Over the past few years the use of Internet has increased largely and technologies like mobile web have made the internet a part of everyday life. Online marketing has evolved as a fast growing industry. Cyber squatting is one of the ways that people try to cash in on the value of the brands.
According to the Anti-Cyber squatting Consumer Protection Act of the US Federal law, Cyber squatting is defined as “registering, trafficking in , or using a domain name with a bad – faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark that belongs to someone else.”
In simple words it means wrongfully registering, owning or transacting a domain name that uses someone else’s brand name.
Here is how Cyber Squatting works :
When a domain name is registered, the registrar assumes that the person registering the domain name has the rights to register the domain name. This has lead to many people registering domain names that dont belong to them hoping that the true owners of these brand names will pay a high price for reclaiming the domain names. Many Cyber Squatters are constantly looking out for expired or expiring domain names.
Trademark laws can provide some protection against cyber squatting. While regular courts can be used to solve the problem of cyber squatting, the entire process can be a long and troublesome one. Deciding where the trial can be disputed, at the place of the plaintiff, the defendant or the server in whose name the domain is registered can take a long while. Many domain name owners find it easier and faster to pay the cyber squatters than to dispute the ownership of the domain name.
A trademark holder has been provided for by the United Nations copyright agency called WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) to reclaim a squatted domain name.
The Uniform Dispute Resolution Process (UDRP) has been created by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), but the court can overrule the UDRP decisions. There have been many instances when the decisions of the UDRP have been overruled. However, there is a growing recognition about cyber squatting today and more than 80% of the cases get solved with the decision in the favor of the domain name owner.
Cyber Squatting is becoming less rewarding as the awareness has grown among the people. Although it is less, it continues to plague the business of many people around the world. The only way to prevent Cyber Squatting is to make sure that you register the trademark of your brand and register most of the common top level domain names for your brand name.
Tanya Smith is an expert on domain name registration and web hosting at Ballistic Domains, USA. Ballistic Domains provides domain name registration, domain transfer, domain parking, dedicated web hosting and related services.